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Title: Review of Reactivity Experiments for Lithium Ternary Alloys

Abstract

Lithium is often the preferred choice as breeder and coolant in fusion blankets as it offers high tritium breeding, excellent heat transfer and corrosion properties, and most importantly, it has very high tritium solubility and results in very low levels of tritium permeation throughout the facility infrastructure. However, lithium metal vigorously reacts with air and water and exacerbates plant safety concerns. Consequently, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is attempting to develop a lithium-based alloy—most likely a ternary alloy—which maintains the beneficial properties of lithium (e.g. high tritium breeding and solubility) while reducing overall flammability concerns for use in the blanket of an inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plant. The LLNL concept employs inertial confinement fusion (ICF) through the use of lasers aimed at an indirect-driven target composed of deuterium-tritium fuel. The fusion driver/target design implements the same physics currently experimented at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The plant uses lithium in both the primary coolant and blanket; therefore, lithium related hazards are of primary concern. Reducing chemical reactivity is the primary motivation for the development of new lithium alloys, and it is therefore important to come up with proper ways to conduct experiments that can physically study this phenomenon. Thismore » paper will start to explore this area by outlining relevant past experiments conducted with lithium/air reactions and lithium/water reactions. Looking at what was done in the past will then give us a general idea of how we can setup our own experiments to test a variety of lithium alloys.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1223843
Report Number(s):
LLNL-SR-677604
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY

Citation Formats

Jolodosky, A., Bolind, A., and Fratoni, M. Review of Reactivity Experiments for Lithium Ternary Alloys. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.2172/1223843.
Jolodosky, A., Bolind, A., & Fratoni, M. Review of Reactivity Experiments for Lithium Ternary Alloys. United States. doi:10.2172/1223843.
Jolodosky, A., Bolind, A., and Fratoni, M. 2015. "Review of Reactivity Experiments for Lithium Ternary Alloys". United States. doi:10.2172/1223843. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1223843.
@article{osti_1223843,
title = {Review of Reactivity Experiments for Lithium Ternary Alloys},
author = {Jolodosky, A. and Bolind, A. and Fratoni, M.},
abstractNote = {Lithium is often the preferred choice as breeder and coolant in fusion blankets as it offers high tritium breeding, excellent heat transfer and corrosion properties, and most importantly, it has very high tritium solubility and results in very low levels of tritium permeation throughout the facility infrastructure. However, lithium metal vigorously reacts with air and water and exacerbates plant safety concerns. Consequently, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is attempting to develop a lithium-based alloy—most likely a ternary alloy—which maintains the beneficial properties of lithium (e.g. high tritium breeding and solubility) while reducing overall flammability concerns for use in the blanket of an inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plant. The LLNL concept employs inertial confinement fusion (ICF) through the use of lasers aimed at an indirect-driven target composed of deuterium-tritium fuel. The fusion driver/target design implements the same physics currently experimented at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The plant uses lithium in both the primary coolant and blanket; therefore, lithium related hazards are of primary concern. Reducing chemical reactivity is the primary motivation for the development of new lithium alloys, and it is therefore important to come up with proper ways to conduct experiments that can physically study this phenomenon. This paper will start to explore this area by outlining relevant past experiments conducted with lithium/air reactions and lithium/water reactions. Looking at what was done in the past will then give us a general idea of how we can setup our own experiments to test a variety of lithium alloys.},
doi = {10.2172/1223843},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • The projected use of a lithium-lead alloys as the tritium breeding blanket and heat transfer agent in fusion reactors requires data on the solubility of hydrogen isotopes in the alloys at the temperatures of interest. In the absence of available experimental data in the desired temperature range, estimates were made on the hydrogen isotope solubility in the lithium-lead alloys. In NUWMAK, solubility estimates were based on activity studies of lithium in lithium-lead while in WITAMIR the solubility was extrapolated from deuterium measurements in the alloy at higher temperatures. In this note we summarize the existing data and review our methodsmore » of estimating the tritium solubility in the desired temperature range.« less
  • Pre-conceptual fusion blanket designs require research and development to reflect important proposed changes in the design of essential systems, and the new challenges they impose on related fuel cycle systems. One attractive feature of using liquid lithium as the breeder and coolant is that it has very high tritium solubility and results in very low levels of tritium permeation throughout the facility infrastructure. However, lithium metal vigorously reacts with air and water and presents plant safety concerns. If the chemical reactivity of lithium could be overcome, the result would have a profound impact on fusion energy and associated safety basis.more » The overriding goal of this project is to develop a lithium-based alloy that maintains beneficial properties of lithium (e.g. high tritium breeding and solubility) while reducing overall flammability concerns. To minimize the number of alloy combinations that must be explored, only those alloys that meet certain nuclear performance metrics will be considered for subsequent thermodynamic study. The specific scope of this study is to evaluate the neutronics performance of lithium-based alloys in the blanket of an inertial confinement fusion (ICF) engine. The results of this study will inform the development of lithium alloys that would guarantee acceptable neutronics performance while mitigating the chemical reactivity issues of pure lithium.« less
  • Lithium is often the preferred choice as breeder and coolant in fusion blankets as it offers excellent heat transfer and corrosion properties, and most importantly, it has a very high tritium solubility and results in very low levels of tritium permeation throughout the facility infrastructure. However, lithium metal vigorously reacts with air and water and exacerbates plant safety concerns. For this reason, over the years numerous blanket concepts have been proposed with the scope of reducing concerns associated with lithium. The European helium cooled pebble bed breeding blanket (HCPB) physically confines lithium within ceramic pebbles. The pebbles reside within amore » low activation martensitic ferritic steel structure and are cooled by helium. The blanket is composed of the tritium breeding lithium ceramic pebbles and neutron multiplying beryllium pebbles. Other blanket designs utilize lead to lower chemical reactivity; LiPb alone can serve as a breeder, coolant, neutron multiplier, and tritium carrier. Blankets employing LiPb coolants alongside silicon carbide structural components can achieve high plant efficiency, low afterheat, and low operation pressures. This alloy can also be used alongside of helium such as in the dual-coolant lead-lithium concept (DCLL); helium is utilized to cool the first wall and structural components made up of low-activation ferritic steel, whereas lithium-lead (LiPb) acts as a self-cooled breeder in the inner channels of the blanket. The helium-cooled steel and lead-lithium alloy are separated by flow channel inserts (usually made out of silicon carbide) which thermally insulate the self-cooled breeder region from the helium cooled steel walls. This creates a LiPb breeder with a much higher exit temperature than the steel which increases the power cycle efficiency and also lowers the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) pressure drop [6]. Molten salt blankets with a mixture of lithium, beryllium, and fluorides (FLiBe) offer good tritium breeding, low electrical conductivity and therefore low MHD pressure drop, low chemical reactivity, and extremely low tritium inventory; the addition of sodium (FLiNaBe) has been considered because it retains the properties of FliBe but also lowers the melting point. Although many of these blanket concepts are promising, challenges still remain. The limited amount of beryllium available poses a problem for ceramic breeders such as the HCPB. FLiBe and FLiNaBe are highly viscous and have a low thermal conductivity. Lithium lead possesses a poor thermal conductivity which can cause problems in both DCLL and LiPb blankets. Additionally, the tritium permeation from these two blankets into plant components can be a problem and must be reduced. Consequently, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is attempting to develop a lithium-based alloy—most likely a ternary alloy—which maintains the beneficial properties of lithium (e.g. high tritium breeding and solubility) while reducing overall flammability concerns for use in the blanket of an inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plant. The LLNL concept employs inertial confinement fusion (ICF) through the use of lasers aimed at an indirect-driven target composed of deuterium-tritium fuel. The fusion driver/target design implements the same physics currently experimented at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The plant uses lithium in both the primary coolant and blanket; therefore, lithium-related hazards are of primary concern. Although reducing chemical reactivity is the primary motivation for the development of new lithium alloys, the successful candidates will have to guarantee acceptable performance in all their functions. The scope of this study is to evaluate the neutronics performance of a large number of lithium-based alloys in the blanket of the IFE engine and assess their properties upon activation. This manuscript is organized as follows: Section 12 presents the models and methodologies used for the analysis; Section 3 discusses the results; Section 4 summarizes findings and future work.« less
  • Paper presented at the l7th Annual Convention of the Magnesium Association, New York City, October l6, l961. The progress made in the development of Mg-Li alloys is reviewed. Phase relationship studies, basis for ternary and complex alloys, alloys of greatest current interest, and uses of the alloys are discussed. (M.C.G.)
  • Binary and ternary intermetallic compounds are being considered as a possible solution to storage problems in the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel for many applications. For selected systems, this report reviews and summarizes theories of storage optimization, experimental procedures, property data, potential applications for stationary and mobile energy storage, resource and economic analyses, and safety factors. The systems surveyed are those binary, ternary, and complex intermetallic compounds containing a member of the transition element series, a member of the rare earth series, and/or a member of the actinide series.