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Title: Triple Plate Mold Final Report: Optimization of the Mold Design and Casting Parameters for a Thin U-10mo Fuel Casting

Abstract

This work describes the experiments and modeling that have been performed to improve and try to optimize the simultaneous casting of three plates of U-10wt%Mo in a single coil vacuum induction melting (VIM) furnace. The plates of interest are 280 mm wide by 203 mm tall by 5 mm thick (11" x 8" x 0.2"). The initial mold design and processing parameters were supplied by Y-12. The mold and casting cavity were instrumented with a number of thermocouples, and the casting performed to determine the thermal history of the mold and casting. The resulting cast plates were radiographed and numerous defects identified. Metallography was performed to help identify the nature of the radiographically observed defects. This information was then used to validate a mold filling and solidification model of that casting. Based on the initial casting, good casting design practice, and process simulation of several design alternatives, a revised design was developed with the goal of minimizing casting defects such as porosity. The redesigned mold had a larger hot-top and had its long axis along the horizontal direction. These changes were to try to develop a strong thermal gradient conducive to good feeding and minimization of micro- and macroporosity inmore » the cast plates. An instrumented casting was then performed with the revised mold design and a linear distributor. This design yielded cast plates with significantly less radiographically identified defects. Unfortunately, there was significant variation in plate weight and metal content in their hot-tops. Fluid flow simulations were then performed on this mold/distributor design. This helped identify the issue with this linear distributor design. Additional simulations were then performed on candidate distributor redesigns and a preferred distributor annular design was identified. This improved annular design was used to produce a third instrumented casting with favorable results. These refined designs and their radiographic characterization are compared to the initial design.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1338724
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-20036
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Citation Formats

Aikin, Jr., Robert M. Triple Plate Mold Final Report: Optimization of the Mold Design and Casting Parameters for a Thin U-10mo Fuel Casting. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1338724.
Aikin, Jr., Robert M. Triple Plate Mold Final Report: Optimization of the Mold Design and Casting Parameters for a Thin U-10mo Fuel Casting. United States. doi:10.2172/1338724.
Aikin, Jr., Robert M. Wed . "Triple Plate Mold Final Report: Optimization of the Mold Design and Casting Parameters for a Thin U-10mo Fuel Casting". United States. doi:10.2172/1338724. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1338724.
@article{osti_1338724,
title = {Triple Plate Mold Final Report: Optimization of the Mold Design and Casting Parameters for a Thin U-10mo Fuel Casting},
author = {Aikin, Jr., Robert M.},
abstractNote = {This work describes the experiments and modeling that have been performed to improve and try to optimize the simultaneous casting of three plates of U-10wt%Mo in a single coil vacuum induction melting (VIM) furnace. The plates of interest are 280 mm wide by 203 mm tall by 5 mm thick (11" x 8" x 0.2"). The initial mold design and processing parameters were supplied by Y-12. The mold and casting cavity were instrumented with a number of thermocouples, and the casting performed to determine the thermal history of the mold and casting. The resulting cast plates were radiographed and numerous defects identified. Metallography was performed to help identify the nature of the radiographically observed defects. This information was then used to validate a mold filling and solidification model of that casting. Based on the initial casting, good casting design practice, and process simulation of several design alternatives, a revised design was developed with the goal of minimizing casting defects such as porosity. The redesigned mold had a larger hot-top and had its long axis along the horizontal direction. These changes were to try to develop a strong thermal gradient conducive to good feeding and minimization of micro- and macroporosity in the cast plates. An instrumented casting was then performed with the revised mold design and a linear distributor. This design yielded cast plates with significantly less radiographically identified defects. Unfortunately, there was significant variation in plate weight and metal content in their hot-tops. Fluid flow simulations were then performed on this mold/distributor design. This helped identify the issue with this linear distributor design. Additional simulations were then performed on candidate distributor redesigns and a preferred distributor annular design was identified. This improved annular design was used to produce a third instrumented casting with favorable results. These refined designs and their radiographic characterization are compared to the initial design.},
doi = {10.2172/1338724},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jan 04 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Jan 04 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • LEU-10%Mo castings are commonly produced by down blending unalloyed HEU with a DU-12.7%Mo master-alloy. This work uses process modeling to provide insight into the mixing of the unalloyed uranium and U-Mo master alloy during melting and mold filling of a triple plate casting. Two different sets of situations are considered: (1) mixing during mold filling from a compositionally stratified crucible and (2) convective mixing of a compositionally stratified crucible during mold heating. The mold filling simulations are performed on the original Y-12 triple plate mold and the horizontal triple plate mold.
  • Currently, the proposed processing path for low enriched uranium – 10 wt. pct. molybdenum alloy (LEU-10Mo) monolithic fuel plates for high power research and test reactors includes hot isostatic pressing (HIP) to bond the aluminum cladding that encapsulates the fuel foil. Initial HIP experiments were performed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) on approximately ¼ scale “mini” fuel plate samples using a HIP can design intended for these smaller experimental trials. These experiments showed that, with the addition of a co-rolled zirconium diffusion barrier on the LEU-10Mo alloy fuel foil, the HIP bonding process is a viable method for producing monolithicmore » fuel plates. Further experimental trials at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) effectively scaled-up the “mini” can design to produce full-size fuel prototypic plates. This report summarizes current efforts at LANL to produce a HIP can design that is further optimized for higher volume production runs. The production-optimized HIP can design goals were determined by LANL and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) to include maintaining or improving the quality of the fuel plates produced with the baseline scaled-up mini can design, while minimizing material usage, improving dimensional stability, easing assembly and disassembly, eliminating machining, and significantly reducing welding. The initial small-scale experiments described in this report show that a formed-can approach can achieve the goals described above. Future work includes scaling the formed-can approach to full-size fuel plates, and current progress toward this goal is also summarized here.« less
  • Sections of eight plate castings of uranium alloyed with 10 wt% molybdenum (U-10Mo) were sent from Y-12 to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for microstructural characterization. This report summarizes the results from this study.
  • This report presents an overview of LANL casting procedure and characterization of recent DU U-10 Mo castings and characterizes recent LEU U-10Mo casting from Y-12.
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