Measurement of microstructure and eutectic penetration rate on irradiated metallic fuel after high-temperature heating test
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Microstructural development of irradiated U-10Zr fuel slug with T92 cladding specimen was examined after thermal exposure of 750 °C for 1 h. Optical microscopy, scanning electron microcopy and electron microprobe analysis were employed to examine the microstructure, constituent migration, and eutectic penetration. Migration phenomena of U, Zr, Fe, and Cr indicative of Soret effect was observed, and Nd lanthanide fission product was found at the eutectic melting region. Eutectic penetration was quantified and correlated to a thermal activation model with a good agreement. Compared to the previously reported eutectic penetration rates for the unirradiated U-10Zr fuel slug with FMS (Ferritic Martensitic Steel, HT9) cladding specimens, the eutectic penetration rate determined from this study for the irradiated fuel specimen was higher. This phenomenon can be caused by the effect of lanthanide fission product migration into fuel slug-cladding interface during irradiation, and lowering the eutectic threshold temperature for the irradiated fuel.
Keywordsmetals melting microstructure optical microscopy scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
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