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

Title: Thermally-Conductive and Mechanically-Robust Graphene Nanoplatelet Reinforced UO2 Composite Nuclear Fuels

Abstract

Low thermal transport behavior along the radial direction of nuclear fuel pellets and pellet-cladding mechanical interaction significantly impact fuel performance and the safety of current nuclear energy systems. Here we report a new strategy of advanced fuel design in which highly thermally-conductive and mechanically-robust graphene nanoplatelets are incorporated into UO2 fuel matrix to improve fuel thermal-mechanical properties. The 2D geometry of the graphene nanoplatelets enables a unique lamellar structure upon fuel consolidation by spark plasma sintering. The thermal conductivity along the radial direction of the sintered fuel pellets at room temperature reaches 12.7 and 19.1 wm–1K–1 at 1 wt.% and 5 wt.% loadings of the graphene nanoplatelets, respectively, representing at least 74% and 162% enhancements as compared to pure UO2 fuel pellets. Indentation testing suggests great capability of the 2D graphene nanoplatelets to deflect and pin crack propagation, drastically improving the crack propagation resistance of fuel matrix. Here, the estimated indentation fracture toughness reaches 3.5 MPa·m1/2 by 1 wt.% loading of graphene nano-platelets, representing a 150% improvement over 1.4 MPa·m1/2 for pure UO2 fuel pellets. Isothermal annealing of the composite fuel indicates that the graphene nano-platelet is able to retain its structure and properties against reaction with UO2 matrix upmore » to 1150 °C.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1500087
Grant/Contract Number:  
NE0008440
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS

Citation Formats

Yao, Tiankai, Xin, Guoqing, Scott, Spencer Michael, Gong, Bowen, and Lian, Jie. Thermally-Conductive and Mechanically-Robust Graphene Nanoplatelet Reinforced UO2 Composite Nuclear Fuels. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21034-4.
Yao, Tiankai, Xin, Guoqing, Scott, Spencer Michael, Gong, Bowen, & Lian, Jie. Thermally-Conductive and Mechanically-Robust Graphene Nanoplatelet Reinforced UO2 Composite Nuclear Fuels. United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21034-4.
Yao, Tiankai, Xin, Guoqing, Scott, Spencer Michael, Gong, Bowen, and Lian, Jie. Wed . "Thermally-Conductive and Mechanically-Robust Graphene Nanoplatelet Reinforced UO2 Composite Nuclear Fuels". United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21034-4. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1500087.
@article{osti_1500087,
title = {Thermally-Conductive and Mechanically-Robust Graphene Nanoplatelet Reinforced UO2 Composite Nuclear Fuels},
author = {Yao, Tiankai and Xin, Guoqing and Scott, Spencer Michael and Gong, Bowen and Lian, Jie},
abstractNote = {Low thermal transport behavior along the radial direction of nuclear fuel pellets and pellet-cladding mechanical interaction significantly impact fuel performance and the safety of current nuclear energy systems. Here we report a new strategy of advanced fuel design in which highly thermally-conductive and mechanically-robust graphene nanoplatelets are incorporated into UO2 fuel matrix to improve fuel thermal-mechanical properties. The 2D geometry of the graphene nanoplatelets enables a unique lamellar structure upon fuel consolidation by spark plasma sintering. The thermal conductivity along the radial direction of the sintered fuel pellets at room temperature reaches 12.7 and 19.1 wm–1K–1 at 1 wt.% and 5 wt.% loadings of the graphene nanoplatelets, respectively, representing at least 74% and 162% enhancements as compared to pure UO2 fuel pellets. Indentation testing suggests great capability of the 2D graphene nanoplatelets to deflect and pin crack propagation, drastically improving the crack propagation resistance of fuel matrix. Here, the estimated indentation fracture toughness reaches 3.5 MPa·m1/2 by 1 wt.% loading of graphene nano-platelets, representing a 150% improvement over 1.4 MPa·m1/2 for pure UO2 fuel pellets. Isothermal annealing of the composite fuel indicates that the graphene nano-platelet is able to retain its structure and properties against reaction with UO2 matrix up to 1150 °C.},
doi = {10.1038/s41598-018-21034-4},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: (a) Starting powders are several hundred μm agglomerates of submicron UO2 + x crystallites; (b) a photo of SPS sintering apparatus with a black box showing where powder compact is located during sintering; Inserted in the lower left corner is the sintered pellet by SPS at 1500 °Cmore » for 5 mins with a US penny for comparison; (c) A cross section fractured surface showing the sintered UO2 pellet with an average grain size of 12 ± 1 μm in an equiaxial shape; (d) XRD patterns showing no phase change before (black lines) and after (red lines) SPS process. However, a shift of peaks from high 2θ to lower ones indicates the concurrent reduction and sintering of UO2 + x powder by SPS.« less

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Lattice thermal conductivity of graphene flakes: Comparison with bulk graphite
journal, May 2009

  • Nika, D. L.; Ghosh, S.; Pokatilov, E. P.
  • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 94, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3136860

Mechanochemical synthesis of uranium sesquisilicide
journal, August 2014


Thermophysical properties of uranium dioxide
journal, March 2000


High-temperature X-ray study of uranium oxides in the UO2U3O8 region
journal, December 1955


The study of interaction between graphene and metals by Raman spectroscopy
journal, April 2011

  • Wang, W. X.; Liang, S. H.; Yu, T.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 109, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3536670

Fabrication and molecular dynamics analyses of highly thermal conductive reduced graphene oxide films at ultra-high temperatures
journal, January 2017

  • Huang, Yilun; Gong, Qianming; Zhang, Qi
  • Nanoscale, Vol. 9, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1039/C6NR06653D

Mechanical properties of graphene platelet-reinforced alumina ceramic composites
journal, August 2013


Thermal Properties of Graphene–Copper–Graphene Heterogeneous Films
journal, February 2014

  • Goli, Pradyumna; Ning, Hao; Li, Xuesong
  • Nano Letters, Vol. 14, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1021/nl404719n

A Critical Evaluation of Indentation Techniques for Measuring Fracture Toughness: I, Direct Crack Measurements
journal, September 1981


The influence of SiC particle size and volume fraction on the thermal conductivity of spark plasma sintered UO2–SiC composites
journal, November 2013


Anisotropic thermal conductivity in uranium dioxide
journal, August 2014

  • Gofryk, K.; Du, S.; Stanek, C. R.
  • Nature Communications, Vol. 5, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5551

High thermal conductivity of hexagonal boron nitride laminates
journal, January 2016


Reinforcement with graphene nanosheets in aluminum matrix composites
journal, April 2012


Raman spectroscopic investigation of graphitization of diamond during spark plasma sintering of UO2-diamond composite nuclear fuel
journal, July 2016


Fracture toughness and fracture surface energy of sintered uranium dioxide fuel pellets
journal, March 1987

  • Kutty, T. R. G.; Chandrasekharan, K. N.; Panakkal, J. P.
  • Journal of Materials Science Letters, Vol. 6, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1007/BF01729319

Performance evaluation of UO2/graphene composite fuel and SiC cladding during LBLOCA using MARS-KS
journal, April 2013


Thermal properties of graphene: Fundamentals and applications
journal, November 2012

  • Pop, Eric; Varshney, Vikas; Roy, Ajit K.
  • MRS Bulletin, Vol. 37, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1557/mrs.2012.203

Enhanced thermal conductivity of uranium dioxide–silicon carbide composite fuel pellets prepared by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS)
journal, February 2013


Uranium carbide dissolution in nitric solution: Sonication vs. silent conditions
journal, October 2013


Graphene-based composite materials
journal, July 2006

  • Stankovich, Sasha; Dikin, Dmitriy A.; Dommett, Geoffrey H. B.
  • Nature, Vol. 442, Issue 7100, p. 282-286
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature04969

Preparation of graphene nanosheet/alumina composites by spark plasma sintering
journal, February 2011


Kinetic study of the UO2/C interaction by high-temperature mass spectrometry
journal, November 2008


Large-Area Freestanding Graphene Paper for Superior Thermal Management
journal, May 2014


Densification of uranium dioxide fuel pellets prepared by spark plasma sintering (SPS)
journal, April 2013


Structural stability studies of graphene in sintered ceramic nanocomposites
journal, December 2014


Investigation of some mechanical properties of Ti2O3-doped UO2 fuel pellets
journal, September 2006


Raman Spectrum of Graphene and Graphene Layers
journal, October 2006


Synthesis of Phase-Pure U 2 N 3 Microspheres and Its Decomposition into UN
journal, December 2014

  • Silva, Chinthaka M.; Hunt, Rodney D.; Snead, Lance L.
  • Inorganic Chemistry, Vol. 54, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1021/ic502457n

Effect of Grain Size on Microstructural Change and Damage Recovery in UO 2 Fuels Irradiated to 23 GWd/t
journal, September 1994


Stability of SiC-matrix microencapsulated fuel constituents at relevant LWR conditions
journal, May 2014


Fuel pellets based on uranium dioxide and alloyed with nanodispersed additives of Al(OH)3 and TiO2
journal, May 2014

  • Panov, V. S.; Lopatin, V. Yu.; Myakisheva, L. V.
  • Russian Journal of Non-Ferrous Metals, Vol. 55, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.3103/S1067821214030146

The surface energy of UO2 as determined by hertzian indentation
journal, June 1980


Influence of processing parameters on thermal conductivity of uranium dioxide pellets prepared by spark plasma sintering
journal, July 2014


TiO2 doped UO2 fuels sintered by spark plasma sintering
journal, February 2016


Effects of the porosity in uranium dioxide on microacoustic and elastic properties
journal, February 2000


Mechanical properties of (U,Ce)O2
journal, June 1998


Influence of Carbon Nanotube Dispersion in UO 2 –Carbon Nanotube Ceramic Matrix Composites Utilizing Spark Plasma Sintering
journal, March 2015

  • Cartas, Andrew; Wang, Haitang; Subhash, Ghatu
  • Nuclear Technology, Vol. 189, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.13182/NT14-7

    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Defect formation dynamics in dry and water submerged graphene nanosheets
    journal, April 2019

    • Sharma, Saurabh S.; Sharma, Bharat Bhushan; Parashar, Avinash
    • Materials Research Express, Vol. 6, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1088/2053-1591/ab19fc

      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.