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Senior R&D Staff Dynamic Failure Scientist

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently seeking applicants for a Senior R&D Staff Member for its Material Security and Stewardship group

  • Closing date: 13 Mar 2021
  • United States | Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Date posted: 12 Feb 2021
  • Job type: Research facilities
  • Disciplines: Accelerators, neutron & light sources  | Nuclear, fusion & energy 

Description of job

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND) is a division operating within the National Security Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The NND performs research and development to detect, characterize, and monitor nuclear fuel cycle activities and nuclear explosions; develops concepts, approaches, and technologies to strengthen global security for nuclear and radiological material; and engages with federal agencies to enhance international nonproliferation regimes.

The Material Security and Stewardship (MSS) group within the NND at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks applications for a Senior R&D Staff Member who will focus on the science and technology of dynamic failure of ceramics including ceramic armors and the development of relationships between dynamic and static failure modes based on inter alia microstructure and mechanical properties of ceramic materials and components.  The selected applicant will develop models to predict the dynamic and static response of materials of interest in conjunction with parallel experimental testing.

The applicant will be expected lead activities focused on the modeling of the dynamic and static behavior of condensed matter, specifically ceramic materials and ceramic armor compositions, using Finite Element Methods specifically Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian techniques. The candidate will be expected to implement existing computational codes (e.g., LS Dyna, ALE3D, ALEGRA, CTH, and similar) as well as develop and incorporate new behavior models into the codes. The applicant will also be expected to develop and use these computational tools and models to assist directly in the design of equipment for testing of these materials using standard and non-standard configurations, interpretation of diagnostic data, and evaluation of fractographic analyses performed on the post-test debris. This work will be performed as part of a multi-disciplinary team focused on the development, testing, and characterization of materials for national security purposes.

Job duties and responsibilities

  • Lead research activities in areas related to modeling of the mechanical behavior of brittle materials, including ceramics and ceramic armors.
  • Extend existing theories and models for the mechanical and fracture behavior for such materials under static and dynamic loads.
  • Develop and lead a computational team.
  • Advise experimental team conducting supportive dynamic and static testing of materials of interest, including recommendation of experimental configuration changes and instrumentation to support model development, verification, and validation.
  • Collaborate with researchers inside and outside ORNL to advance the technical and scientific missions of the group, laboratory, and sponsor.
  • Interact regularly with senior scientists, program managers, group members, and prepare and present periodic reports documenting research and development activities.
  • Publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, consistent with programmatic and legal restrictions regarding operational security and export control.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Mentor early career research staff, postdocs, technicians and students.

Required qualifications

  • A PhD with six years of experience or Masters degree and 12 years of experience in physics, materials science and engineering, ceramic engineering, or a related field.
  • A minimum of six years of experience in condensed matter physics, with specific demonstrated experience in the evaluation and modeling of ceramic and/or brittle materials including ceramic armor.
  • Demonstrated ability to work autonomously and to lead a collaborative team of supporting researchers.

Special requirement

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.

This position will remain open for a minimum of five days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please e-mail

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.


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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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