Displacement damage cross section and mechanical properties calculation of an Es-Salam research reactor aluminum vessel


Nuclear facility aging is one of the biggest problems encountered in nuclear engineering. Radiation damage is among one of the aging causes. This kind of damage is an important factor of mechanical properties deterioration. The interest of this study is on the Es-Salam research reactor aluminum vessel aging due to neutron radiation. Monte Carlo (MC) simulations were performed by MCNP6 and SRIM codes to estimate the defects created by neutrons in the vessel. MC simulations by MCNP6 have been performed to determine the distribution of neutron fluence and primary knock-on atom (PKA) creation. Considering our boundary conditions of the calculations, the helium and hydrogen gas production in the model at a normalized total neutron flux of 6.62 × 1012 n/cm2 s were determined to be 2.86 × 108 and 1.33 × 109 atoms/cm3 s, respectively. The SRIM code was used for the simulation of defects creation (vacancies, voids) in the aluminum alloy of the Es-Salam vessel (EsAl) by helium and hydrogen with an approximate energy of 11 MeV each. The coupling between the two codes is based upon post-processing of the particle track (PTRAC) output file generated by the MCNP6. A small program based on the MatLab language is performed to condition the output file MCNP6 in the format of a SRIM input file. The concentration of silicon was determined for the vessel by the calculation of the total rate of 27Al(n,γ)28Si reaction. The DPA (displacement per atom) was calculated in SRIM according to R.E. Stoller recommendations; the calculated value is 0.02 at a fast neutron fluence 1.89 × 1019 n/cm2. RCC-MRx standard for 6061-T6 aluminum was used for the simulation of the evolution of mechanical properties for high fluence. The calculated values of nuclear parameters and DPA obtained were in agreement with the experimental results from the Oak Ridge High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) reported by Farrell and coworkers.

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We thank Dr. T. ZIDI for the execution of the MCNP6 code. We are most grateful to Prof. H. Ait-Abderrahim for the valuable assistance related to the use of RCC-MRx standard. Many thanks to Dr. S. Hadji for very interesting information related to the interpretation of units used by SRIM code.

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Correspondence to Djillali Saad.

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Saad, D., Benkharfia, H., Izerrouken, M. et al. Displacement damage cross section and mechanical properties calculation of an Es-Salam research reactor aluminum vessel. NUCL SCI TECH 28, 162 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41365-017-0319-3

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  • Radiation damage
  • EsAl
  • 6061-T6
  • Silicon production
  • DPA
  • PKA
  • MCNP6
  • SRIM
  • RCC-MRx
  • HFIR