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Annual Report

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Advanced transmutation systems require structural materials that are able to withstand high neutron fluxes, high thermal cycling, and high resistance to chemical corrosion. The current candidate materials for such structures are ferritic and ferritic-martensitic steels due to their strong resistance to swelling, good microstructural stability under irradiation, and the retention of adequate ductility at typical reactor operating temperatures.

In parallel, lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) has emerged as a potential spallation target material for efficient production of neutrons, as well as a coolant in the accelerator system. While LBE has excellent properties as a nuclear coolant, it is also highly corrosive to stainless steel.

Thus, for long term reliability of the structures, it is necessary to provide some protection of the steel surface from corrosion, without affecting the bulk properties of the steel. One such technique that has been well investigated is the use of oxygen control at the surface of the steel, which maintains a coating of oxide layer that protects the steel surface. While the oxygen control technique works effectively at lower temperatures, it is not appropriate for higher operational temperatures (500-600 °C), which is becoming increasingly important. Thus, it is necessary to develop alternative techniques for corrosion protection of steel that will perform reliably at elevated temperatures and under thermal cycling in LBE.


Aluminum oxide; Chromium; Corrosion and anti-corrosives; Eutectic alloys; Lead-bismuth alloys; Nanostructured materials; Nanowires; Nuclear reactors — Materials — Testing; Protective coatings; Steel — Corrosion


Materials Science and Engineering | Metallurgy | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy