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Lance L. Snead

Associate Division Director, Materials Under Extremes Section
Program Manager, Fusion Reactor Materials Program
Research Staff, Nuclear Materials Science & Technology Group
Materials Science & Technology Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6140
Phone: (865) 574-9942
Fax: 865-241-3650


Field of Specialization:

Dr. Snead's research is primarily on radiation damage to structural materials with emphasis on high temperature structural materials and fuels. A brief outline of his research activities are as follows:

  • Dr. Snead has lead efforts towards the development of ceramic composites for nuclear power applications. Over the past ten years substantial improvement have been made in both base properties and the radiation stability of these materials due in large part to a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms governing their behavior under irradiation. Based on this work SiC composites now exist which are essentially irradiation stable allowing the material to transition from the development into the deployment stage in nuclear systems. Currently, these materials are being developed for both long-range fusion reactor application and near-term gas-cooled reactor application.
  • The second general topic of Dr. Snead’s research deals with the fundamental irradiation effects in ceramic materials including graphite, carbon fiber composites, silicon carbide, zirconium carbide, and other ceramics. Research ranges from the fundamentals of amorphization in SiC, which was first demonstrated by Dr. Snead for neutron irradiation, to the study of dimensional stability and thermal conductivity degradation following irradiation.
  • In addition to structural ceramics such as SiC/SiC composites, ceramics are also being used for electrically insulating components. Dr. Snead and coworkers have been involved in the electrical properties of insulating materials under irradiation and have studied the so-called radiation induced electrical degradation (RIED) phenomenon, which raised serious questions to the use of insulators such as alumina for fusion systems. The results of this series of experiments led to the assertion that RIED will not be an issue for fusion systems. Dr. Snead is currently increasing the effort into the thermal properties of insulating ceramics such as alumina, aluminum nitride as well as silicon carbide.
  • More recently, Dr. Snead has been involved in the characterization and property evaluation for high-temperature gas-cooled reactor fuels. Emphasis has been on the TRISO fuels overcoated with SiC or ZrC including mechanical testing of these materials and fundamental description of important parameters such as thermal transport.


  • Nuclear Engineering BS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1986
  • Physics BS, State University of New York, 1986
  • MS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1988
  • PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1992

Professional Societies:

  • TMS
  • Carbon Society
  • American Nuclear Society
  • American Ceramic Society

Honors and Awards:

  • American Nuclear Society 2007 Literary Award. Award recognizing outstanding published technical paper, for “Handbook on SiC Properties for Fuel Performance Modeling.” Journal of Nuclear Materials 371 (2007) 329-377
  • American Ceramic Society Richard M Fulrath Award, 2007.
  • American Nuclear Society Literary Award, 2006. Awarded for the paper "Thermal Conductivity Degradation of Ceramic Materials due to Low Temperature, Low Dose Neutron Irradiation." Journal of Nuclear Materials 340 (2005) 187-202.
  • American Nuclear Society Technical Achievement Award, 2004
  • Miya-Abdou Fusion Nuclear Technology Award, 2002. In recognition of outstanding technical contributions to the field of Fusion Nuclear Technology.
  • Fusion Power Associates David J. Rose Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award, 2001. Awarded annually to an outstanding young scientist under the age of 42 who has shown exceptional technical accomplishment and leadership potential.
  • UT-Battelle (ORNL) Technical Achievement Award, 2000.
  • Distinguished Alumnus, State University of New York, 1999. Selected as a distinguished alumnus for 110th Anniversary.
  • ORNL Significant Achievement award-1996.
  • Rensselaer Gerhardt Prize, 1992. Awarded annually to an engineering or science doctoral student for experimental or theoretical research.
  • American Nuclear Society FED Technical Award-1992. Awarded annually to a student in recognition of a significant published work.

Book Chapter:

  • "Radiation Damage in Graphite," in Carbon Materials for Advanced Technologies, Elsevier Science ltd. (1997).

Guest Editor:

Journal of Nuclear Materials

  • Nuclear Fuels and Structural Material 2, Special Edition of the Journal of Nuclear Materials. Ed. F. W. Wiffen, L. L. Snead, T. R. Allen, Volume 392 (2009)
  • Nuclear Fuels and Structural Materials for Next Generation Reactors. Ed. L. Snead, T. Allen, D. Petti, and M. Feltus. Special Edition of the Journal of Nuclear Materials. Volume 371. 2007.
  • Microstructural Processes in Irradiated Materials, Ed. L. L. Snead, B. D. Wirth, C. Becquart. Special Edition of the Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2006.
  • Inertial Fusion Energy Materials, Ed. L. L. Snead, N. Ghoniem, J. Blanchard. In Press. Special Edition of the Journal of Nuclear Materials. Vol. 347. 2005.

Materials Research Society:

  • Radiation Effects and Ion Beam Processing of Materials, Eds. L.M. Wang, R. Fromknecht, L.L. Snead, D.F. Downey, and H. Takahashi, Materials Research Society Symposium proceedings Vol. 792 (MRS, Warrendale, PA, 2004) pp. 1-10.

Materials Research Society:

  • Microstructural Processes in Irradiated Materials–2000, Eds. G.E. Lucas, L.L. Snead, M.A. Kirk, Jr., and R.G. Elliman, Boston, MA, Nov. 27-29, 2000, Materials Research Society Symposium. Proc. Vol. 650 (MRS, Warrendale, PA, 2001), pp. R1.10.1-1.10.6.

Philosophical Magazine:

  • Microstructural Processes in Irradiated Materials. Symposium of the TMS 02-06.03.2003 San Diego CA USA. Edited by Charlotte Becquart, Robin Schaeublin, Lance Snead, Brian Wirth. In Press.

Selected Publications