"In-situ TEM study of the ion irradiation behavior of U3Si2 and U3Si5"
Tiankai Yao, Bowen Gong, Yinbin Miao, Jason Harp, Jie Lian,
Journal of Nuclear Materials
U3Si2 and U3Si5 are two important uranium silicide phases currently under extensive investigation as potential fuel forms or components for light water reactors (LWRs) to enhance accident tolerance. In this paper, their irradiation behaviors are studied by ion beam irradiations with various ion mass and energies, and their microstructure evolution is investigated by in-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). U3Si2 can easily be amorphized by ion beam irradiations (by 1 MeV Ar2+ or Kr2+) at room temperature with the critical amorphization dose less than 1 dpa. The critical amorphization temperatures of U3Si2 irradiated by 1 MeV Kr2+ and 1 MeV Ar2+ ion are determined as 580 ± 10 K and 540 ± 5 K, respectively. In contrast, U3Si5 remains crystalline up to 8 dpa at room temperature and is stable against ion irradiation-induced amorphization up to ∼50 dpa by either 1 MeV Kr2+ or 150 KeV Kr+ at 623 K. These results provide valuable experimental data to guide future irradiation experiments, support the relevant post irradiation examination, and serve as the experimental basis for the validation of advanced fuel performance models.
"Radiation-induced grain subdivision and bubble formation in U3Si2 at LWR temperature"
Bowen Gong, Jason Harp, Jie Lian, Tiankai Yao, Lingfeng He, Michael Tonks,
Journal of Nuclear Materials
U3Si2, an advanced fuel form proposed for light water reactors (LWRs), has excellent thermal conductivity and a high fissile element density. However, limited understanding of the radiation performance and fission gas behavior of U3Si2 is available at LWR conditions. This study explores the irradiation behavior of U3Si2 by 300 keV Xe+ ion beam bombardment combining with in-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation. The crystal structure of U3Si2 is stable against radiation-induced amorphization at 350 °C even up to a very high dose of 64 displacements per atom (dpa). Grain subdivision of U3Si2 occurs at a relatively low dose of 0.8 dpa and continues to above 48 dpa, leading to the formation of high-density nanoparticles. Nano-sized Xe gas bubbles prevail at a dose of 24 dpa, and Xe bubble coalescence was identified with the increase of irradiation dose. The volumetric swelling resulting from Xe gas bubble formation and coalescence was estimated with respect to radiation dose, and a 2.2% volumetric swelling was observed for U3Si2 irradiated at 64 dpa. Due to extremely high susceptibility to oxidation, the nano-sized U3Si2 grains upon radiation-induced grain subdivision were oxidized to nanocrystalline UO2 in a high vacuum chamber for TEM observation, eventually leading to the formation of UO2 nanocrystallites stable up to 80 dpa.
Micromechanical testing of Sintered UO2 fuel pellets with Controlled Microstructure - FY 2017 RTE 1st Call, #196
Radiation Response and Microstructure of Accident Tolerant U3Si2 Fuels by Ion Beam Irradiation - FY 2017 RTE 1st Call, #191
Thermal Driven Grain Growth and Fission Gas Bubble Coarsening in Nano-grain Sized U3Si2 - FY 2019 RTE 1st Call, #399