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Characterization of PuO/PuCO-Type Phase and its Influence on the Oxidation Kinetics of δ-Plutonium


This work focuses on PuCO-type phase formation at the surface of δ-Pu at temperatures above 300 °C under low oxygen partial pressure. Its growth was characterised by XRD and XPS and was found to follow parabolic kinetics law. This oxycarbide formation was thermodynamically supported by CALPHAD calculations. XPS investigations of PuCO phase reveal a singular plutonium oxidation state never observed in plutonium oxides (i.e. PuO2 or Pu2O3). Furthermore, the oxycarbide presence on the sample surface strongly impacts the oxidation rate in oxygen atmosphere, reducing drastically the other oxide growth.

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Favart, N., Ravat, B., Jolly, L. et al. Characterization of PuO/PuCO-Type Phase and its Influence on the Oxidation Kinetics of δ-Plutonium. Oxid Met 96, 271–281 (2021).

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  • δ-Plutonium
  • High temperature oxidation
  • XRD
  • XPS