Characterization of the Hydrothermal Corrosion Behavior of Ceramics for Accident Tolerant Fuel Cladding
Accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) is an increasingly important research topic for the nuclear industry, and ceramics such as SiC are strong contenders for deployment as ATF cladding. The hydrothermal corrosion characteristics of SiC and Al2O3 were investigated via constantly-refreshing autoclave corrosion and post exposure characterization. Four different types of chemical vapor deposited (CVD) SiC specimens were examined (two with high electrical resistance, one with low electrical resistance, and a single crystal 4H structural variant). Al2O3 specimens were prepared in single crystal and polycrystalline states. PWR primary water, BWR–HWC, and BWR–NWC environments were maintained throughout the experiments. Characterization conducted using SEM and EDS was used to determine factors affecting corrosion rates and susceptibility to grain boundary attack in each water chemistry condition. Raman spectroscopy was also used to determine chemical variation of the surface with corrosion. Grain boundary attack was found to be significant for both alumina and SiC polycrystalline variants.
KeywordsAccident-tolerant fuel ATF SiC Al2O3 Hydrothermal corrosion
This research was funded by U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Advanced Fuel Campaign of the Fuel Cycle R&D Program.
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