Dr. Arthur T. Motta

138 Reber Building
University Park, PA 16802

(814) 865-0036


Arthur T. Motta, Chair and Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Program


Dr. Arthur Motta - Materials for Nuclear Power Group

Arthur Motta is the Chair of the Nuclear Engineering Program in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State. He holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.Sc. in Nuclear Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Motta joined the Penn State faculty in 1992, and prior to coming to Penn State, worked as a research associate for the CEA at the Centre for Nuclear Studies in Grenoble, France, for two years and as a post-doctoral fellow for AECL at Chalk River Laboratories in Canada.

He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, and received the ANS Mishima Award for outstanding contributions in research and development work on nuclear fuel and materials. In 2016 he was awarded the ASTM William J. Kroll Medal for contributions in zirconium metallurgy in the areas of oxidation hydriding, deformation and radiation damage. He has collaborated with Don Olander on the textbook “Light Water Reactor Materials”, published by ANS.

His research interests center on the behavior of nuclear materials in the reactor environment, especially using state-of-the-art characterization techniques including transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron radiation diffraction and fluorescence to discern degradation mechanisms in service, especially of nuclear fuel cladding. He has over 120 publications, including several reviews and book chapters.


Ongoing Research

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Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy ablations craters for open beam high energy (40 mJ) with several repetition. Credits: Samuel Le Berre



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Dislocation loop formation in austenitic alloy 800H after in-situ irradiation at the Intermediate Voltage Electron Microscope facility at Argonne National Laboratory. Credits: Christopher Ulmer



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Microbeam X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) of nickel in Zircaloy-2 is studied to understand accelerated hydrogen pick-up at high burn-up. (a) Linear combination fitting of XANES helps to characterize the chemical state of nickel in the Zircaloy-2 oxide layer. (b) Fitting results are plotted as a function of oxide depth to highlight differences in nickel corrosion rate and relate this to hydrogen pick-up. (c) Experimental results are also compared with simulated XANES to understand the oxidation behavior of the different nickel populations. Credits: Adi Shivprasad