MANATEE Group is excited to welcome new group members!

Manatee group is expanding and we are excited to welcome 6 new group members who all start this Fall. Casey McKinney (MSE), Charlyne Smith (NE), Tanvi Ajantiwalay (MSE), Cynthia Papesch (NE), and Aappajosula (Yashu) Rao (MSE) are starting to work on their Ph.Ds, and Matthew Cook (NE) on M.S. degree. Welcome to the University of Florida, Materials Science and Engineering Department, Nuclear Engineering Program, and to the MANATEE group! Go Gators!

Get know them (here).



Nuclear Fuels and Materials Characterization Facility (NFMC) becomes part of NSUF!

University of Florida’s NFMC was selected as a partner facility by Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF). NSUF was established by Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) in 2010 and to this date remains DOE NE’s first and only user facility. Through NSUF, users are provided access (at no cost to the researcher) to world-class nuclear research facilities, technical expertise from experienced scientists and engineers, and assistance with experiment design, assembly, safety analysis and examination. We are excited to be selected as a partner and encourage users to request access to NFMC through NSUF (remember, it’s cost free to the user!). 


US DOE FY 2017 University Infrastructure Grant is awarded to Dr. Yang

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded approximately $6 million to 19 colleges and universities to support reactor infrastructure and general scientific infrastructure improvements. These awards strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear research and development and ensure the American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate the next generation of industry leaders. University of Florida was awarded a general scientific infrastructure grant that will: 1. Fill the nationally wide need gap for Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking (IASCC) test facility in order to support the materials degradation and advanced nuclear materials development for the LWR Sustainability (LWRS) program.  2. Support the on-going, under-review and near future nuclear materials research at the University of Florida.  3. Train the next generation of work force for nuclear engineering R&D sector with radioactive materials hands-on experience. 


Check out the new Nuclear Fuels and Materials Characterization Facility (NFMC)

The core function of the facility is to provide microstructural characterization and mechanical properties evaluation of nuclear fuels and materials. The facility is brand new; the equipment installation has been completed in May and the facility is ready for use. The laboratory is dedicated to supporting radiological work and we can’t be more excited! We now have FEI Helios dual beam FIB/SEM, FEI Tecnai F20 TEM, Hysitron PI 88 SEM PicoIndenter, and MTS 100 kN Landmark Test System available for testing our samples. FIB is equipped with EDAX EBSD/EDS detectors and an in-situ mechanical testing unit (Hysitron PI 88 SEM PicoIndenter). The PicoIndenter has two load ranges: low load option (up to 100 mN) and high load (up to 500 mN with a travel of 150 um). In addition, it is equipped with heating capability up to 800C that will enable nanomechanics measurements in-situ and it’s particularly important for oxidation sensitive materials such as U and Zr. TEM is equipped with EDS and a variety of holders (single tilt, double tilt, tomography). The large mechanical scale equipment can be configured for a wide array of tests, including durability, fatigue crack growth, high-cycle fatigue, low-cycle fatigue, fracture toughness, tension, compression, and more. The controlled atmosphere furnace can test materials up to 1600C. If desired, additional shielding will be added for testing specimens with a relatively high radioactivity.



NSUF awards funding to Riley, Zheng, and Zhangbo!

Congratulations to Riley Parrish, Zheng Zhang, and Zhangbo Li for receiving Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) rapid turnaround experiment (RTE) funding! Rapid Turnaround Experiments offer researchers the opportunity to perform quick analysis of a small number of samples. Riley’s proposal “Microstructural characterization of 3% burn-up MOX fuel”, Zheng’s proposal “Pore size distribution in U-Mo fuel irradiated to high burn-up”, and Zhangbo’s proposal “TEM investigation of radiation damage of ferrite in CF-3” have been selected from a large pool of proposals submitted by national laboratories and US universities. Well done!

Congratulations to Riley Parrish for successfully passing his oral proposal defense on the 3-D mapping of radial chemistry and microstructural evolution in varying stage burn-ups mixed oxide fuels. He has officially advanced into doctoral candidacy!

Professor Yang among other three MSE faculty has been awarded the University of Florida Term Professorship. This award recognizes faculty achievements and excellence in research, teaching, and service. Congratulations, Dr. Yang!


Drs. Aitkaliyeva and Yang decided to combine two groups into one nuclear fuels and materials group at UF. The new group name is MANATEE (MAterials for Nuclear Advancement and Technology in Extreme Environments). We are updating our website, more information will be available soon. 

Welcome Dr. Aitkaliyeva!

Department of Materials Science and Engineering Welcomes Assistant Professor Assel Aitkaliyeva  

Dr. Assel Aitkaliyeva is joining the Nuclear Engineering Program in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as an Assistant Professor.  She arrives from Idaho National Laboratory where she previously worked as a staff scientist.  Her expertise is in advanced characterization of nuclear fuels using advanced electron microscopy tools such as the Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Atom Probe Tomography (APT), and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD).

I appreciate you joining me in providing a warm welcome for Dr. Aitkaliyeva.

Michele V. Manuel
Professor and Chair
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
100 Rhines Hall
549 Gale Lemerand Drive
P.O. Box 116400
Gainesville, Florida 32611-6400
University of Florida


NSUF awards funding to Riley Parrish!

Congratulations to Riley Parrish for receiving Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) rapid turnaround experiment (RTE) funding to conduct his work on mixed oxide (MOX) fuels! Rapid Turnaround Experiments offer researchers the opportunity to perform quick analysis of a small number of samples. Riley’s proposal 17-812 “Microstructural characterization of 23% burn-up MOX fuel” has been selected from a large pool of proposals submitted by national laboratories and US universities. Riley is a main PI on the proposal and he will conduct the work at Idaho National Laboratory in the summer.