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Title: Characterization and Testing of Monolithic RERTR Fuel Plates

Abstract

Monolithic fuel plates are being developed for application in research reactors throughout the world. These fuel plates are comprised of a U-Mo alloy foil encased in aluminum alloy cladding. Three different fabrication techniques have been looked at for producing monolithic fuel plates: hot isostatic pressing (HIP), transient liquid phase bonding (TLPB), and friction stir welding (FSW). Of these three techniques, HIP and FSW are currently being emphasized. As part of the development of these fabrication techniques, fuel plates are characterized and tested to determine properties like hardness and the bond strength at the interface between the fuel and cladding. Testing of HIPed samples indicates that the foil/cladding interaction behavior depends on the Mo content in the U-Mo foil, the measured hardness values are quite different for the fuel, cladding, and interaction zone phase and Ti, Zr and Nb are the most effective diffusion barriers. For FSW samples, there is a dependence of the bond strength at the foil/cladding interface on the type of tool that is employed for performing the actual FSW process.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
911952
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-07-12224
TRN: US0800236
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Research Reactor Fuel Management Conference,Lyon, France,03/11/2007,03/15/2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 - NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ALLOYS; ALUMINIUM; BONDING; DIFFUSION BARRIERS; FABRICATION; FRICTION; FUEL MANAGEMENT; FUEL PLATES; HARDNESS; HOT PRESSING; RESEARCH REACTORS; TESTING; TRANSIENTS; WELDING; friction stir welding; hot isostatic pressing; LEU; monolithic fuel; transient liquid phase bonding

Citation Formats

D. D. Keiser, J. F. Jue, and D. E. Burkes. Characterization and Testing of Monolithic RERTR Fuel Plates. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
D. D. Keiser, J. F. Jue, & D. E. Burkes. Characterization and Testing of Monolithic RERTR Fuel Plates. United States.
D. D. Keiser, J. F. Jue, and D. E. Burkes. Thu . "Characterization and Testing of Monolithic RERTR Fuel Plates". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/911952.
@article{osti_911952,
title = {Characterization and Testing of Monolithic RERTR Fuel Plates},
author = {D. D. Keiser and J. F. Jue and D. E. Burkes},
abstractNote = {Monolithic fuel plates are being developed for application in research reactors throughout the world. These fuel plates are comprised of a U-Mo alloy foil encased in aluminum alloy cladding. Three different fabrication techniques have been looked at for producing monolithic fuel plates: hot isostatic pressing (HIP), transient liquid phase bonding (TLPB), and friction stir welding (FSW). Of these three techniques, HIP and FSW are currently being emphasized. As part of the development of these fabrication techniques, fuel plates are characterized and tested to determine properties like hardness and the bond strength at the interface between the fuel and cladding. Testing of HIPed samples indicates that the foil/cladding interaction behavior depends on the Mo content in the U-Mo foil, the measured hardness values are quite different for the fuel, cladding, and interaction zone phase and Ti, Zr and Nb are the most effective diffusion barriers. For FSW samples, there is a dependence of the bond strength at the foil/cladding interface on the type of tool that is employed for performing the actual FSW process.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Thu Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Conference:
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  • Evaluation of the PIE results of the monolithic plates that were irradiated as part of the RERTR-6 experiment has continued. Specifically, comparisons have been made between the microstructures of the fuel plates before and after irradiation. Using the results from the rigorous characterization that was performed on the as-fabricated plates using scanning electron microscopy, it is possible to improve understanding of how monolithic fuel plates perform when they are irradiated. This paper will discuss the changes that occur, if any, in the microstructure of a monolithic fuel plate that is fabricated using techniques like what were employed for fabricating RERTR-6more » fuel plates. In addition, the performance of fuel/cladding interaction layers that were present in the fuel plates due to the fabrication process will be discussed, particularly in the context of swelling of these layers and how these layers exhibit different behaviors depending on whether the fuel alloy in the fuel plate is U-7Mo or U-10Mo.« less
  • Interaction between U-Mo fuel and Al has proven to dramatically impact the overall irradiation performance of RERTR dispersion fuels. It is of interest to better understand how similar interactions may affect the performance of monolithic fuel plates, where a uranium alloy fuel is sandwiched between aluminum alloy cladding. The monolithic fuel plate removes the fuel matrix entirely, which reduces the total surface area of the fuel that is available to react with the aluminum and moves the interface between the fuel and cladding to a colder region of the fuel plate. One of the major fabrication techniques for producing monolithicmore » fuel plates is friction stir welding. This paper will discuss the interactions that can occur between the U-Mo foil and 6061 Al cladding when applying this fabrication technique. It has been determined that the time at high temperatures should be limited as much as is possible during fabrication or any post-fabrication treatment to reduce as much as possible the interactions between the foil and cladding. Without careful control of the fabrication process, significant interaction between the U-Mo foil and Al alloy cladding can result. The reaction layers produced from such interactions can exhibit notably different morphologies vis-√†-vis those typically observed for dispersion fuels.« less
  • We use experimentation and finite element modeling to study a Hot Isostatic Press (HIP) manufacturing process for U-10Mo Monolithic Fuel Plates. Finite element simulations are used to identify the material properties affecting the process and improve the process geometry. Accounting for the high temperature material properties and plasticity is important to obtain qualitative agreement between model and experimental results. The model allows us to improve the process geometry and provide guidance on selection of material and finish conditions for the process strongbacks. We conclude that the HIP can must be fully filled to provide uniform normal stress across the bondingmore » interface.« less
  • Low-enrichment (U-235 < 20%) U-Mo monolithic fuel is being developed for use in research and test reactors. The earliest design for this fuel that was investigated via reactor testing was comprised of a nominally U-10Mo fuel foil encased in AA6061 (Al-6061) cladding. For a fuel design to be deemed adequate for final use in a reactor, it must maintain dimensional stability and retain fission products throughout irradiation, which means that there must be good integrity at the fuel foil/cladding interface. To investigate the nature of the fuel/cladding interface for this fuel type after irradiation, fuel plates that were tested inmore » INL's Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) were subsequently characterized using optical metallography, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Results of this characterization showed that the fuel/cladding interaction layers present at the U-Mo fuel/AA6061 cladding interface after fabrication became amorphous during irradiation. Up to two main interaction layers, based on composition, could be found at the fuel/cladding interface, depending on location. After irradiation, an Al-rich layer contained very few fission gas bubbles, but did exhibit Xe enrichment near the AA6061 cladding interface. Another layer, which contained more Si, had more observable fission gas bubbles. Adjacent to the AA6061 cladding were Mg-rich precipitates, which was in close proximity to the region where Xe is observed to be enriched. In samples produced using a focused ion beam at the interaction zone/AA6061 cladding interface were possible indications of porosity/debonding, which suggested that the interface in this location is relatively weak.« less