Radiation is famously damaging, both to living tissue and materials. But now, engineers at MIT have been surprised to discover that radiation may actually help certain alloys to self-heal, extending their useful lifetime. This could obviously help inform future power plant designs.
In nuclear reactors, radiation is known to accelerate corrosion of most materials, leading to eventual failure and possibly disastrous consequences. So for the new study, researchers at MIT and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to quantify just how bad that corrosion would be under different radiation levels.