Document Type

Annual Report

Publication Date



University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Publisher Location

Las Vegas (Nev.)

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Although liquid lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) is a good candidate for the coolant that can be employed in a subcritical transmutation blanket, it is known to be very corrosive to stainless steel, the material used in the containment structure. To mitigate this problem, trace levels of oxygen can be introduced into the system, causing the formation of a protective oxide layer at the interface between the LBE and steel. The proper formation of this oxide layer largely depends on the accurate measurement and subsequent control of the oxygen concentration in liquid LBE.

Yttria Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) oxygen sensors, using molten bismuth saturated with oxygen as the reference, have been utilized to accurately measure the concentration of oxygen dissolved in LBE. By measuring the voltage difference across the YSZ sensor, the oxygen concentration in test solutions can be determined relative to that in the reference solutions (the potentiometric method). The theoretical model for calculating oxygen concentration based on voltage measurements from YSZ sensors in static conditions is well understood. The real world performance of these systems, however, is less predictable.

For the past three years, calibration of YSZ oxygen sensors has been performed using both the experimental setup located in LANL and one apparatus designed by TRP Task 13 team members. A set of calibration curves (voltage vs. temperature, ranging from 300 to 500 oC, under various oxygen concentrations in liquid LBE) has been obtained. Different sensor references and signal wires have also been tested. Numerical simulation has been conducted to study the oxygen transfer in the calibration task.


Corrosion and anti-corrosives; Eutectic alloys; Lead-bismuth alloys; Nuclear reactors — Materials — Testing; Measuring instruments – Design and construction; Oxygen – Measurement

Controlled Subject

Eutectic alloys; Nuclear reactors--Materials--Testing; Measuring instruments--Design and construction


Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy

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393 KB




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