Carbides for Future Fission Environments (CAFFE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Summary (4000 characters)

This project will bring together eight investigators from world leading research and nuclear research universities together with three post-doctoral fellows and three PhD students to investigate zirconium carbide ceramic materials for their potential application in advanced nuclear reactor systems. These materials will be required to operate at high temperatures and suffer large numbers of atomic displacements due to radiation damage and yet will be required to resist corrosion and provide longer lifetimes than current materials. Following recommendations from international reports on the development of new materials for advanced fission reactors, the most modern techniques in materials modelling and characterisation and testing will be brought to bear on these new materials. Phase diagrams will be calculated for new proposed layered zirconium carbide ceramics to guide the preparation of new phases. These new phases and a few already known phases will be characterised on multiple scales with 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, transmission electron and synchrotron diffraction and lab-based x-ray tomography both before and after their irradiation and corrosion testing at the National Nuclear Users Facility/Dalton Cumbria Facility. The researchers will collaborate with leading players in the nuclear materials industry to evaluate the neutronics and manufacturability of these new materials to assess their potential to be carried forward to later stages of development. An international meeting will be hosted at the end of the programme to highlight progress made in the development of these materials to both to the wider industry and to international academic groups to increase the profile of the UK Nuclear Materials community in Generation IV and Generation III+ nuclear research.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description By applying proton irradiation to the MAX Phase materials studied, we have been able to investigate their irradiation resistance, and thereby suitability for use in reactor envronments. Initial X-ray diffraction measurements have shown that significant changes in the lattice parameters of these materials occur when irradiated at 350C, even at relatively low damage levels. For some compositions this expansion becomes negligible when irradiation temperatures are increased to ~575C. This demonstrates the ability of some MAX Phases to "heal" irradiation damage. It also suggests that compositions studied up until now are unlikely to find use in applications where temperatures are below 400C. Autoclave testing has also shown that only a limited number of MAX phase compositions can survive PWR conditions, but may be well suited to some GEN IV applications. The work suggests that MAX phase compositions must be very carefully chosen for specific operating environments.
By combining the experimental work with atomistic modelling studies, we have been able to propose mechanisms for the large lattice changes seen at lower temperature irradiations, we have also shown that different compositions show different sensitivity, which provides motivation for proposing new compositions that may even be useable in ATF applications.
Exploitation Route The results will be used to develop targeted MAX phase compositions specifically with lower irradiation sensitivity at operating temperatures I.e. ~350. By describing the icrradaiatio response of new compositions, other researchers will be able to build on this work to look at other applications for these materials. Work has already started to look at other applications, specifically for materials within Fusion.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy

 
Description The findings of this work has influenced the future strategy of the companies involved (including Westinghouse and Rolls Royce) with respect to choice of potential materials and manufacturing processes for accident tolerant fuel cladding (ATF) and other potential in-reactor applications. Specifically, the work has provided a deeper understanding of the potential operating window for these materials and therefore potential applications. While it has demonstrated that the compositions so far investigated are unlikely to be used in the original proposed application ( I.e. ATF coatings for Light water reactors), the mechanistic understanding provided allows tailor-made compositions to be developed and has also opened the potential for the m materials to be used in alternative applications, including new research into their use in Fusion and also electronics.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description H2020
Amount € 5,000,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 740415 - IL TROVATORE 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 10/2017 
End 04/2022
 
Description CARAT - Collaboration for Advanced Research on Accident-tolerant Fuel 
Organisation Paul Scherrer Institute
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Collaborator Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Impact Regular exhange of results and presentations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CARAT - Collaboration for Advanced Research on Accident-tolerant Fuel 
Organisation Penn State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Collaborator Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Impact Regular exhange of results and presentations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CARAT - Collaboration for Advanced Research on Accident-tolerant Fuel 
Organisation University of Tennessee
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Collaborator Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Impact Regular exhange of results and presentations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CARAT - Collaboration for Advanced Research on Accident-tolerant Fuel 
Organisation University of Wisconsin-Madison
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Collaborator Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Impact Regular exhange of results and presentations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CARAT - Collaboration for Advanced Research on Accident-tolerant Fuel 
Organisation Westinghouse
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Collaborator Contribution Attended anual meetings and exchanged results and expericence.
Impact Regular exhange of results and presentations.
Start Year 2015
 
Description CARAT working group meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Annual meeeting of researchers from academia and industry to discuss results and issues regarding research into Accident Tollerant Fuels
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016