Anna L. Smith works as Associate Professor in the section Reactor Physics and Nuclear Materials at the Radiation Science and Technology department of the TU Delft. She is a physical chemist and materials scientist working towards the development of a new generation of nuclear reactor technologies that excel in safety and sustainability. Her research focuses on the chemistry of advanced nuclear fuels, including ceramics (e.g. oxides) and molten salts (e.g fluorides and chlorides), with a particular interest in the study of structure-property relationships. Her research line combines experimental and computational studies to investigate physico-chemical properties and phenomena from the atomic to macroscopic scale.
Born with the double French and British nationality, Anna Smith grew up in France. She studied chemistry at Chimie ParisTech (Paris, France), where she obtained in 2011 a French "diplôme d’ingénieur" conferring a "Master of science in chemistry and chemical engineering". During the last year of her graduate studies, she also followed the M.Phil. degree program of the University of Cambridge in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. She was awarded in 2011, in parallel to the French master’s degree, a “M.Phil. degree in Advanced Chemical Engineering”. She received her PhD in 2015 from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy). During her PhD she studied the structural, thermomechanical, and thermodynamic properties of nuclear materials, more specifically actinide oxides and their interaction with sodium. She spent 3 years in this period at the Joint Research Centre (JRC-Karlsruhe, Germany) of the European Commission, where she performed experimental investigations of uranium, neptunium and plutonium materials. She developed there her expertise in nuclear fuel chemistry and chemical thermodynamics of actinide materials. After her PhD, she joined the TU Delft as assistant professor, where she broadened her line of research towards other types of nuclear fuel materials, namely molten salts (fluorides and chlorides). She started a new line of research on ceramics and molten salt materials for nuclear applications. She set-up a research team and a new laboratory adapted for work with uranium and thorium materials. Her interests now lies in the intricate chemistry of fission products in oxides and molten salts, in the interaction chemistry between fuel, coolant (e.g. sodium, lead, lead-bismuth eutectic) and cladding materials (e.g. metal alloys, steels, ceramics), and corrosion issues and degradation processes at high temperatures, and in the harsh environment of a nuclear reactor.
Nuclear materials chemistry; experimental and computational thermodynamics; molten salts; ceramics; thermochemical and thermophysical properties; structure-property relationships; corrosion chemistry