Investigation of aluminides as potential matrix materials for inert matrix nuclear fuels

Darrin D. Byler, Kenneth J. McClellan, James A. Valdez, Pedro Peralta, Kirk Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

New nuclear fuel forms are being sought in an effort to burn down plutonium inventories and for minor actinide transmutation. A study was conducted to screen two potential materials for a new fuel form. In this study, inert matrix fuels (IMFs) were considered as a nuclear fuel type, with particular emphasis on the matrix materials and their compatibility with surrogate oxides/nitrides and cladding materials. In a fuel cycle application, fuel materials need high thermal conductivity, good radiation tolerance, relatively high melting point, ease of fabrication, and suitability for separation. Due to their physical, mechanical and thermal properties, as well as relative ease of fabrication, nickel aluminide (NiAl) and ruthenium aluminide (RuAl) and their solid solutions were considered as potential matrix candidates for IMFs. Such IMFs can be of interest for fast and thermal spectrum applications. This study focused on the ease of fabrication, interaction of molten NiAl and RuAl with the oxides/nitrides, and the compatibility of NiAl and RuAl with the materials in the system, such as oxide/nitrides and typical cladding materials (Zr-4 and HT-9). Results from the experiments indicate limited interaction between the aluminides and cladding materials where inter-diffusion over the 168 hour test period occurred in the worst case a distance of about 11 μm. In light of the results, it was concluded that RuAl and NiAl are promising candidates for IMF materials, warranting further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCeramics in Nuclear and Alternative Energy Applications - A Collection of Papers Presented at the 30th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites
Pages89-99
Number of pages11
Edition5
StatePublished - 2006
EventCeramics in Nuclear and Alternative Energy Applications - 30th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites - Cocoa Beach, FL, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2006Jan 27 2006

Publication series

NameCeramic Engineering and Science Proceedings
Number5
Volume27
ISSN (Print)0196-6219

Other

OtherCeramics in Nuclear and Alternative Energy Applications - 30th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites
CountryUnited States
CityCocoa Beach, FL
Period1/22/061/27/06

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry

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