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Title: DE-NE0000533 2015 final report

The objective of this work was to explore the development of advanced metal/ceramic composites with greatly improved radiation tolerance and stability above 500°C. Such composites combine the good properties of glasses (high strength and elastic limit, corrosion resistance) with those of crystals (high toughness, strain hardening). The ceramic component of the composite consisted of a high crystallization temperature amorphous material composed of Si-O-C while the metal component was Fe, chosen as a model material for steel. The potential impact of this work is the development of a new class of ceramic/metal composites that can be adapted for engineering applications, resulting in dramatically improved materials performance for advanced reactors. We observed that the combination of the composite constituents, as well as the interfaces between them, provided significantly enhanced radiation tolerance. Our research showed the SiOC materials to be extremely radiation tolerant up to 20 displacements per atom (dpa) at 600 °C. The composites of SiOC/Fe were also studies and found to be radiation tolerant up to 5 dpa at 300°C The approached used for the synthesis of these composites (physical vapor deposition) allowed for rapid alloy and composite prototype development and was therefore appropriate for the proposed exploratory study. It doesmore » not, however, limit the engineering applicability of the class of materials we have investigated because, in engineering practice, the amorphous ceramic can be made by a variety of chemical methods, including pyrolysis, and the amorphous-ceramic/steel composite can be manufactured by ball milling. The need to develop advanced cladding that does not react with hydrogen or other structural materials is urgent considering past accidents at Fukushima. Ceramic composites are therefore a strong option with stream reactions rates orders of magnitude lower than the Ziracloy currently in use. Different from its crystalline counterparts, the conventional concept of point defects does not apply to amorphous ceramics, so these materials are expect to have higher radiation tolerance. Furthermore, the interfaces created between amorphous-ceramics and metals represent a new type of defect sink that also improves the radiation resistance of the composite’s crystalline component. This project has shown that it is possible to develop high temperature irradiation resistant materials that are in critical need for nuclear applications under extreme conditions where in-core materials have to withstand neutron damage and high temperature.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (United States)
  2. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Final Report: DOE-UNL-DE-NE0000533
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; advanced metal/ceramic composites; improved radiation tolerance