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Title: Effects of Oxidation on Oxidation-Resistant Graphite

The Advanced Reactor Technology (ART) Graphite Research and Development Program is investigating doped nuclear graphite grades that exhibit oxidation resistance through the formation of protective oxides on the surface of the graphite material. In the unlikely event of an oxygen ingress accident, graphite components within the VHTR core region are anticipated to oxidize so long as the oxygen continues to enter the hot core region and the core temperatures remain above 400°C. For the most serious air-ingress accident which persists over several hours or days the continued oxidation can result in significant structural damage to the core. Reducing the oxidation rate of the graphite core material during any air-ingress accident would mitigate the structural effects and keep the core intact. Previous air oxidation testing of nuclear-grade graphite doped with varying levels of boron-carbide (B4C) at a nominal 739°C was conducted for a limited number of doped specimens demonstrating a dramatic reduction in oxidation rate for the boronated graphite grade. This report summarizes the conclusions from this small scoping study by determining the effects of oxidation on the mechanical strength resulting from oxidation of boronated and unboronated graphite to a 10% mass loss level. While the B4C additive did reduce mechanicalmore » strength loss during oxidation, adding B4C dopants to a level of 3.5% or more reduced the as-fabricated compressive strength nearly 50%. This effectively minimized any benefits realized from the protective film formed on the boronated grades. Future work to infuse different graphite grades with silicon- and boron-doped material as a post-machining conditioning step for nuclear components is discussed as a potential solution for these challenges in this report.« less
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  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS Advanced Reactor Technology (ART); Graphite; Next Generation Nuclear Plant; Oxidation; Very High-Temperature Reactor