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Title: Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Uranium

Abstract

This project has developed a modeling and simulation approaches to predict the thermal conductivity of metallic fuels and their alloys. We focus on two methods. The first method has been developed by the team at the University of Wisconsin Madison. They developed a practical and general modeling approach for thermal conductivity of metals and metal alloys that integrates ab-initio and semi-empirical physics-based models to maximize the strengths of both techniques. The second method has been developed by the team at Virginia Tech. This approach consists of a determining the thermal conductivity using only ab-initio methods without any fitting parameters. Both methods were complementary. The models incorporated both phonon and electron contributions. Good agreement with experimental data over a wide temperature range were found. The models also provided insight into the different physical factors that govern the thermal conductivity under different temperatures. The models were general enough to incorporate more complex effects like additional alloying species, defects, transmutation products and noble gas bubbles to predict the behavior of complex metallic alloys like U-alloy fuel systems under burnup. 3 Introduction Thermal conductivity is an important thermal physical property affecting the performance and efficiency of metallic fuels [1]. Some experimental measurement of thermalmore » conductivity and its correlation with composition and temperature from empirical fitting are available for U, Zr and their alloys with Pu and other minor actinides. However, as reviewed in by Kim, Cho and Sohn [2], due to the difficulty in doing experiments on actinide materials, thermal conductivities of metallic fuels have only been measured at limited alloy compositions and temperatures, some of them even being negative and unphysical. Furthermore, the correlations developed so far are empirical in nature and may not be accurate when used for prediction at conditions far from those used in the original fitting. Moreover, as fuels burn up in the reactor and fission products are built up, thermal conductivity is also significantly changed [3]. Unfortunately, fundamental understanding of the effect of fission products is also currently lacking. In this project, we probe thermal conductivity of metallic fuels with ab initio calculations, a theoretical tool with the potential to yield better accuracy and predictive power than empirical fitting. This work will both complement experimental data by determining thermal conductivity in wider composition and temperature ranges than is available experimentally, and also develop mechanistic understanding to guide better design of metallic fuels in the future. So far, we focused on α-U perfect crystal, the ground-state phase of U metal. We focus on two methods. The first method has been developed by the team at the University of Wisconsin Madison. They developed a practical and general modeling approach for thermal conductivity of metals and metal alloys that integrates ab-initio and semi-empirical physics-based models to maximize the strengths of both techniques. The second method has been developed by the team at Virginia Tech. This approach consists of a determining the thermal conductivity using only ab-initio methods without any fitting parameters. Both methods were complementary and very helpful to understand the physics behind the thermal conductivity in metallic uranium and other materials with similar characteristics. In Section I, the combined model developed at UWM is explained. In Section II, the ab-initio method developed at VT is described along with the uranium pseudo-potential and its validation. Section III is devoted to the work done by Jianguo Yu at INL. Finally, we will present the performance of the project in terms of milestones, publications, and presentations.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1433931
Report Number(s):
14-6767
14-6767
DOE Contract Number:  
NE0008263
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Hin, Celine. Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Uranium. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1433931.
Hin, Celine. Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Uranium. United States. doi:10.2172/1433931.
Hin, Celine. Sat . "Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Uranium". United States. doi:10.2172/1433931. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1433931.
@article{osti_1433931,
title = {Thermal Conductivity of Metallic Uranium},
author = {Hin, Celine},
abstractNote = {This project has developed a modeling and simulation approaches to predict the thermal conductivity of metallic fuels and their alloys. We focus on two methods. The first method has been developed by the team at the University of Wisconsin Madison. They developed a practical and general modeling approach for thermal conductivity of metals and metal alloys that integrates ab-initio and semi-empirical physics-based models to maximize the strengths of both techniques. The second method has been developed by the team at Virginia Tech. This approach consists of a determining the thermal conductivity using only ab-initio methods without any fitting parameters. Both methods were complementary. The models incorporated both phonon and electron contributions. Good agreement with experimental data over a wide temperature range were found. The models also provided insight into the different physical factors that govern the thermal conductivity under different temperatures. The models were general enough to incorporate more complex effects like additional alloying species, defects, transmutation products and noble gas bubbles to predict the behavior of complex metallic alloys like U-alloy fuel systems under burnup. 3 Introduction Thermal conductivity is an important thermal physical property affecting the performance and efficiency of metallic fuels [1]. Some experimental measurement of thermal conductivity and its correlation with composition and temperature from empirical fitting are available for U, Zr and their alloys with Pu and other minor actinides. However, as reviewed in by Kim, Cho and Sohn [2], due to the difficulty in doing experiments on actinide materials, thermal conductivities of metallic fuels have only been measured at limited alloy compositions and temperatures, some of them even being negative and unphysical. Furthermore, the correlations developed so far are empirical in nature and may not be accurate when used for prediction at conditions far from those used in the original fitting. Moreover, as fuels burn up in the reactor and fission products are built up, thermal conductivity is also significantly changed [3]. Unfortunately, fundamental understanding of the effect of fission products is also currently lacking. In this project, we probe thermal conductivity of metallic fuels with ab initio calculations, a theoretical tool with the potential to yield better accuracy and predictive power than empirical fitting. This work will both complement experimental data by determining thermal conductivity in wider composition and temperature ranges than is available experimentally, and also develop mechanistic understanding to guide better design of metallic fuels in the future. So far, we focused on α-U perfect crystal, the ground-state phase of U metal. We focus on two methods. The first method has been developed by the team at the University of Wisconsin Madison. They developed a practical and general modeling approach for thermal conductivity of metals and metal alloys that integrates ab-initio and semi-empirical physics-based models to maximize the strengths of both techniques. The second method has been developed by the team at Virginia Tech. This approach consists of a determining the thermal conductivity using only ab-initio methods without any fitting parameters. Both methods were complementary and very helpful to understand the physics behind the thermal conductivity in metallic uranium and other materials with similar characteristics. In Section I, the combined model developed at UWM is explained. In Section II, the ab-initio method developed at VT is described along with the uranium pseudo-potential and its validation. Section III is devoted to the work done by Jianguo Yu at INL. Finally, we will present the performance of the project in terms of milestones, publications, and presentations.},
doi = {10.2172/1433931},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Mar 10 00:00:00 EST 2018},
month = {Sat Mar 10 00:00:00 EST 2018}
}

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