1500 Engineering Dr, Room 143
Madison, WI 53706
BS, 1983, General Mechanical Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
MS, 1984, Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
PhD, 1988, Nuclear Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Blanchard is a nuclear engineer with extensive experience in the mechanics of solids, including finite element methods. His research interests include radiation damage in fission and fusion environments, fusion reactor design, laser-induced stresses, and nuclear microbatteries.
His theoretical work in fusion and fission environments will help to design fusion reactors that can withstand high levels of radiation for commercial use. Blanchard is interested in extending the plant life of fission reactors, which must be relicensed in the coming years in order to continue to operate. Another area of concentration is the invention of nuclear microbatteries. He and his collaborators are using the decay of radioisotopes to create power sources for MEMS devices. They use silicon diodes to capture the particles produced by the decay which results in an electric potential that can be tapped to provide electricity to a MEMS component. One interesting application is the development of a nuclear powered RF transmitter that will allow these devices to communicate with each other wirelessly.
Dr. Blanchard enjoys exploring applications of mechanics beyond the traditional disciplines. He recently collaborated with a small, entrepreneurial company (ReaLens, LLC) in the Oshkosh area, working out the mechanics of an artificial eye lens that the company was exploring. His work led to a design change that drastically improved the potential success of their project.