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

Title: THE NUCLEAR EFFECT OF USING LITHIUM HYDRIDE AS THE PROPELLANT IN A NUCLEAR ROCKET REACTOR. (thesis)

Abstract

The nuclear effect of using LiH, containing Li of various isotopic percentages of Li/sup 6/ and Li/sup 7/, as a nuclear rocket propellant was investigated by applying a modified twogroup neutron diffusion theory for a side reflected cylindrical reactor to a model reactor composed of a core up 238/, C/ sup 12/, and LiH; and an infirite Be reflector. Numerous reactor problems were solved for the critical mass of the reactor containing masses of LiH from 0 to 100 Kg with Li/sup 7/ enrichments from 90 to 100%, for nuclear operating temperatures of 5330, 4280, and 3420 deg F. These problems were solved with a nuclear reactor digital computer code, calied ROCKET,'' which was written specifically for this investigation. The results of this investigation indicate that the nuclear effect of using liH is that of a poison. This poisoning effect is directiy related to the amount of Li/sup 6/ present in the li. For ali three operating temperatures considered, the critical mass requirement of the reactor increases linearly with the addition of LiH such that the slope of this increase is linearly related to the isotopic percentage of the Li/sup 6/ present in the Li. Isotopic percentages of Li/sup 6/more » greater than 1% cause an excessive penalty to be paid in terms of fuel loading in order to achieve criticality. The critical mass requirement of the reactor with no LiH present, operating at 5330 deg F, increases by factors of 1.04, 2.2, 3.33, 7.75, 12.2, and 17.7 with the addition of 100 Kg of LiH containing Li/sup 6/ isotopic percentages of 0%, sults were obtained for operating temperatures of 4280 and 3420 deg F, however, a slight increase in the poisoning effect with a decrease in temperature was noted. The feasibility of using LiH as a nuclear rocket propellant appears remote without the removal of at least all but 1% of the Li/sup 6/ from the Li. When the handling and storage problems associated with using LiH are coupled with the imposed penalty in terms of fuel loading, the use of this material as a nuclear rocket propellant appears unfeasible. (auth)« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Air Force Inst. of Tech., Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
OSTI Identifier:
4764043
Report Number(s):
NP-12353; GNE/Phys/62-3
NSA Number:
NSA-17-012034
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-63
Country of Publication:
Country unknown/Code not available
Language:
English
Subject:
SPACE APPLICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY; BERYLLIUM; CARBON 12; CONTROL; COOLANTS; DIFFUSION; DIGITAL SYSTEMS; EFFICIENCY; ENRICHMENT; JETS; LITHIUM 6; LITHIUM 7; LITHIUM HYDRIDES; MASS; NEUTRONS; OPERATION; POISONING; PROGRAMMING; PROPULSION; QUANTITY RATIO; RADIATION EFFECTS; REACTOR CORE; REACTOR FUELING; REACTORS; REFLECTORS; ROCKETS; STORAGE; TEMPERATURE; URANIUM 235; URANIUM 238; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Bartlett, R O. THE NUCLEAR EFFECT OF USING LITHIUM HYDRIDE AS THE PROPELLANT IN A NUCLEAR ROCKET REACTOR. (thesis). Country unknown/Code not available: N. p., 1962. Web.
Bartlett, R O. THE NUCLEAR EFFECT OF USING LITHIUM HYDRIDE AS THE PROPELLANT IN A NUCLEAR ROCKET REACTOR. (thesis). Country unknown/Code not available.
Bartlett, R O. Tue . "THE NUCLEAR EFFECT OF USING LITHIUM HYDRIDE AS THE PROPELLANT IN A NUCLEAR ROCKET REACTOR. (thesis)". Country unknown/Code not available.
@article{osti_4764043,
title = {THE NUCLEAR EFFECT OF USING LITHIUM HYDRIDE AS THE PROPELLANT IN A NUCLEAR ROCKET REACTOR. (thesis)},
author = {Bartlett, R O},
abstractNote = {The nuclear effect of using LiH, containing Li of various isotopic percentages of Li/sup 6/ and Li/sup 7/, as a nuclear rocket propellant was investigated by applying a modified twogroup neutron diffusion theory for a side reflected cylindrical reactor to a model reactor composed of a core up 238/, C/ sup 12/, and LiH; and an infirite Be reflector. Numerous reactor problems were solved for the critical mass of the reactor containing masses of LiH from 0 to 100 Kg with Li/sup 7/ enrichments from 90 to 100%, for nuclear operating temperatures of 5330, 4280, and 3420 deg F. These problems were solved with a nuclear reactor digital computer code, calied ROCKET,'' which was written specifically for this investigation. The results of this investigation indicate that the nuclear effect of using liH is that of a poison. This poisoning effect is directiy related to the amount of Li/sup 6/ present in the li. For ali three operating temperatures considered, the critical mass requirement of the reactor increases linearly with the addition of LiH such that the slope of this increase is linearly related to the isotopic percentage of the Li/sup 6/ present in the Li. Isotopic percentages of Li/sup 6/ greater than 1% cause an excessive penalty to be paid in terms of fuel loading in order to achieve criticality. The critical mass requirement of the reactor with no LiH present, operating at 5330 deg F, increases by factors of 1.04, 2.2, 3.33, 7.75, 12.2, and 17.7 with the addition of 100 Kg of LiH containing Li/sup 6/ isotopic percentages of 0%, sults were obtained for operating temperatures of 4280 and 3420 deg F, however, a slight increase in the poisoning effect with a decrease in temperature was noted. The feasibility of using LiH as a nuclear rocket propellant appears remote without the removal of at least all but 1% of the Li/sup 6/ from the Li. When the handling and storage problems associated with using LiH are coupled with the imposed penalty in terms of fuel loading, the use of this material as a nuclear rocket propellant appears unfeasible. (auth)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {Country unknown/Code not available},
year = {1962},
month = {5}
}

Technical Report:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that may hold this item. Keep in mind that many technical reports are not cataloged in WorldCat.

Save / Share: