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Title: Initial Comparison of Baseline Physical and Mechanical Properties for the VHTR Candidate Graphite Grades

High-purity graphite is the core structural material of choice in the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) design, a graphite-moderated, helium-cooled configuration capable of producing thermal energy for power generation as well as process heat for industrial applications that require temperatures higher than the outlet temperatures of present nuclear reactors. The Baseline Graphite Characterization Program is establishing accurate as-manufactured mechanical and physical property distributions in nuclear-grade graphites by providing comprehensive data that captures the level of variation in measured values. In addition to providing a thorough comparison between these values in different graphite grades, the program is also carefully tracking individual specimen source, position, and orientation information in order to provide comparisons both in specific properties and in the associated variability between different lots, different billets, and different positions from within a single billet. This report is a preliminary comparison between each of the grades of graphite that are considered “candidate” grades from four major international graphite producers. These particular grades (NBG-18, NBG-17, PCEA, IG-110, and 2114) are the major focus of the evaluations presently underway on irradiated graphite properties through the series of Advanced Graphite Creep (AGC) experiments. NBG-18, a medium-grain pitch coke graphite from SGL from which billets aremore » formed via vibration molding, was the favored structural material in the pebble-bed configuration. NBG-17 graphite from SGL is essentially NBG-18 with the grain size reduced by a factor of two. PCEA, petroleum coke graphite from GrafTech with a similar grain size to NBG-17, is formed via an extrusion process and was initially considered the favored grade for the prismatic layout. IG-110 and 2114, from Toyo Tanso and Mersen (formerly Carbone Lorraine), respectively, are fine-grain grades produced via an isomolding process. An analysis of the comparison between each of these grades will include not only the differences in fundamental and statistically-significant individual strength levels, but also the differences in the overall variability in properties within each of the grades that will ultimately provide the basis for predicting in-service performance. The comparative performance of the different types of nuclear-grade graphites will naturally continue to evolve as thousands more specimens are fully characterized with regard to strength, physical properties, and thermal performance from the numerous grades of graphite being evaluated.« less
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States). VHTR Program
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States