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Title: Use of boiled hexamethylenetetramine and urea to increase the porosity of cerium dioxide microspheres formed in the internal gelation process

Cerium dioxide (CeO 2) is a commonly used simulant for plutonium dioxide and for plutonium (Pu) in a mixed uranium (U) and Pu oxide [(U, Pu)O 2] in nuclear fuel development. This effort developed CeO 2 microspheres with different porosities and diameters for use in a crush-strength study. The internal gelation technique has produced CeO 2 microspheres with limited initial porosity. When an equal molar solution of urea and hexamethylenetetramine (HMTA) is gently boiling for 1 hr and used in the gelation process, the crystallite size and porosity of mixed U and thorium oxide microspheres and the (U, Pu)O 2 microspheres increased significantly. In this study with cerium, the combination of ammonium cerium nitrate and 1-h boiled HMTA-urea failed to produce a stable feed broth. However, when the 1-h heated HMTA-urea was combined with unheated HMTA-urea in 1 to 3 volume ratio or the boiling time of the HMTA-urea was reduced to 15-20 min, a stable solution of HMTA, urea, and Ce was formed at 273 K. This new Ce solution produced CeO 2 microspheres with much higher initial porosities. Intermediate porosities were possible when the heated HMTA/urea was aged prior to use.
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Nuclear Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 492; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; Cerium oxide spheres; Internal gelation
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396929