skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: METAL-WATER REACTIONS: RATES OF REACTION OF ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-URANIUM ALLOYS WITH WATER VAPOR AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES

Abstract

Considerations of reactor safety prompted a study of the reaction rates of molten aluminum and aluminum--uranium alloys with water vapor in order to assess the hazard of an explosively violent chemical reaction in the event of a nuclear incident involving the meltdown of a water-cooled reactor. An automatically recording thermobalance tech nique was used to obtain quantitative data for these reaction rates in the temperature range of 1500 to 2300 deg F over time periods of 2 hr. The reaction followed a linear rate law. The reaction rates for both aluminum and for the aluminum--uranium alloys rose with temperature to a maximum in the range of 1800 to 1900 deg F and decreased at higher temperatures. Calculations were made using the reaction rate data and certain simplifying, conservative assumptions of the rate of heating of a fine molten aluminum -uranium droplet of a nominal fuel composition (23.40 wt.% uranium) with water vapor at atmospheric pressure. These calculations indicated that under conditions of no heat loss a metal droplet 0.01 cm in diameter would rise in temperature from 1600 to 1700 deg F in a time period of slightly over 2 min. From this slow heating rate and the fact thatmore » the reaction rate declines at higher temperatures, it is concluded that the reaction of molten aluminum-uranium alloys with water vapor at near atmospheric pressures does not constitute an explosive hazard in the operation of nuclear reactors. The conclusions reached in the present work do not exclude the possibility of an explosively violent reaction between aluminum alloys and water brought together under other conditions; for example, when both the metal and the water are liquid. (auth)« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Phillips Petroleum Co. Atomic Energy Div., Idaho Falls, Idaho
Sponsoring Org.:
US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
OSTI Identifier:
4078232
Report Number(s):
IDO-16629
NSA Number:
NSA-15-005976
DOE Contract Number:  
AT(10-1)-205
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-61
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
CHEMISTRY; ACCIDENTS; ALUMINUM; ALUMINUM ALLOYS; ATMOSPHERE; CHEMICAL REACTIONS; EXPLOSIONS; HEATING; LIQUIDS; METALS; PRESSURE; REACTOR SAFETY; REACTORS; TEMPERATURE; URANIUM ALLOYS; VAPORS; WATER; WATER COOLANT

Citation Formats

Zelezny, W F. METAL-WATER REACTIONS: RATES OF REACTION OF ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-URANIUM ALLOYS WITH WATER VAPOR AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES. United States: N. p., 1960. Web. doi:10.2172/4078232.
Zelezny, W F. METAL-WATER REACTIONS: RATES OF REACTION OF ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-URANIUM ALLOYS WITH WATER VAPOR AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES. United States. doi:10.2172/4078232.
Zelezny, W F. Fri . "METAL-WATER REACTIONS: RATES OF REACTION OF ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-URANIUM ALLOYS WITH WATER VAPOR AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES". United States. doi:10.2172/4078232. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/4078232.
@article{osti_4078232,
title = {METAL-WATER REACTIONS: RATES OF REACTION OF ALUMINUM AND ALUMINUM-URANIUM ALLOYS WITH WATER VAPOR AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES},
author = {Zelezny, W F},
abstractNote = {Considerations of reactor safety prompted a study of the reaction rates of molten aluminum and aluminum--uranium alloys with water vapor in order to assess the hazard of an explosively violent chemical reaction in the event of a nuclear incident involving the meltdown of a water-cooled reactor. An automatically recording thermobalance tech nique was used to obtain quantitative data for these reaction rates in the temperature range of 1500 to 2300 deg F over time periods of 2 hr. The reaction followed a linear rate law. The reaction rates for both aluminum and for the aluminum--uranium alloys rose with temperature to a maximum in the range of 1800 to 1900 deg F and decreased at higher temperatures. Calculations were made using the reaction rate data and certain simplifying, conservative assumptions of the rate of heating of a fine molten aluminum -uranium droplet of a nominal fuel composition (23.40 wt.% uranium) with water vapor at atmospheric pressure. These calculations indicated that under conditions of no heat loss a metal droplet 0.01 cm in diameter would rise in temperature from 1600 to 1700 deg F in a time period of slightly over 2 min. From this slow heating rate and the fact that the reaction rate declines at higher temperatures, it is concluded that the reaction of molten aluminum-uranium alloys with water vapor at near atmospheric pressures does not constitute an explosive hazard in the operation of nuclear reactors. The conclusions reached in the present work do not exclude the possibility of an explosively violent reaction between aluminum alloys and water brought together under other conditions; for example, when both the metal and the water are liquid. (auth)},
doi = {10.2172/4078232},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1960},
month = {11}
}