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University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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Las Vegas (Nev.)

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The goal of the present research is to achieve a basic understanding of corrosion of steels by Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE). Liquid LBE is under consideration in the transmuter as both a spallation target and as a blanket coolant. There have been previous studies of LBE, especially by the Russians, who have over 80 reactor-years experience with LBE coolant in their Alpha-class submarine reactors. However, a fundamental understanding and verification of its role in the corrosion of steels is still very incomplete. We have begun a program of post-experiment testing and analysis on steel samples that have been in intimate contact with LBE. We have employed surface analysis techniques, including Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDAX) spectroscopy, and X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometry (XPS). These techniques, applied to the steel surface, have probed the surface morphology, elemental analysis and oxidation states as a function of position. The measurements were made using the facilities at UNLV. Chemical alterations and resulting chemical species are studied at the steel surface. We plan to use micro-Raman and powder X-ray diffraction in the near future. In addition to these well-established laboratory-based instrumentation approaches at UNLV, we have begun to use a state-of-the-art synchrotron-based spectroscopy and microscopy technique, the X-ray fluorescence microprobe at the Advanced Light Source, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. We have begun to characterize spectroscopically both the LBE and the stainless steel before and after they interact to determine their composition, including minor components such as chromium and nickel. The proposed research moves toward establishing a rigorous experimental database of experimental measurements of LBE and its reactions with steels. Such a database can be used by DOE scientists and engineers in engineering efforts to control, avoid, and/or minimize the effect of corrosion of steels by LBE, under conditions appropriate to the transmuter.


Chromium; Corrosion and anti-corrosives; Eutectic alloys; Lead-bismuth alloys; Lead-bismuth eutectic; Nickel; Particle accelerators — Design and construction; Stainless steel — Corrosion; Steel — Corrosion

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Corrosion and anti-corrosives; Eutectic alloys; Lead-bismuth alloys


Chemistry | Materials Chemistry | Metallurgy | Nuclear Engineering

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90 KB




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