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Title: Exploring high temperature phenomena related to post-detonation using an electric arc

Here, we report a study of materials recovered from a uranium-containing plasma generated by an electric arc. The device used to generate the arc is capable of sustaining temperatures of an eV or higher for up to . Samples took the form of a -thick film deposited onto 8 pairs of -thick Cu electrodes supported on a -thick Kapton backing and sandwiched between glass plates. Materials recovered from the glass plates and around the electrode tips after passage of an arc were characterized using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Recovered materials included a variety of crystalline compounds (e.g., UO2, UC2, UCu5,) as well as mixtures of uranium and amorphous glass. Most of the materials collected on the glass plates took the form of spherules having a wide range of diameters from tens of nanometers to tens of micrometers. The composition and size of the spherules depended on location, indicating different chemical and physical environments. A theoretical analysis we have carried out suggests that the submicron spherules presumably formed by deposition during the arc discharge, while at the same time the glass plates were strongly heated due to absorption of plasma radiation mainly by islands of deposited metals (Cu, U). Themore » surface temperature of the glass plates is expected to have risen to ~2300 K thus producing a liquefied glass layer, likely diffusions of the deposited metals on the hot glass surface and into this layer were accompanied by chemical reactions that gave rise to the observed materials. These results, together with the compact scale and relatively low cost, suggest that the experimental technique provides a practical approach to investigate the complex physical and chemical processes that occur when actinide-containing material interacts with the environment at high temperature, for example, during fallout formation following a nuclear detonation.« less
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979; JAPIAU
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 114; Journal Issue: 20
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY copper; amorphous metals; plasma temperature; electrodes; uranium