Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Study on Properties of Novel Metallic Foam for Nuclear Applications
by Chen, Shuo, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2015, 265; 10110535
Abstract (Summary)

Developing new multifunctional materials in recent years for nuclear systems has become increasingly critical owing to the high demand on better shielding in extreme environments. The purpose of this research was to design, manufacture, and evaluate the feasibility of utilizing novel light weight close-cell composite metallic foam (CMF) and open-cell Al foam with fillers as radiation shields at nuclear facilities to attenuate the background of ionization radiations to a minimum level for creating a safer workplace, meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining high quality performance.

Steel-steel composite metal foams (S-S CMFs) and Aluminum-steel composite metal foams (Al-S CMFs) with various sphere sizes and matrix materials were manufactured and investigated for nuclear and radiation environments applications. 316L stainless steel, highspeed T15 steel and aluminum materials were used as the matrix material together with 2, 4 and 5.2 mm steel hollow spheres to manufacture various types of composite metal foams (CMFs). High-speed T15 steel is selected due to its high tungsten and vanadium concentration (both high-Z elements) to further improve the shielding efficiency of CMFs. This new type of S-S CMF is called High-Z steel-steel composite metal foam (HZ S-S CMF). Open-cell Al foams with fillers were obtained by infiltrating original empty pores with variety of hydrogen-rich compounds: petroleum wax, borated polyethylene, water, and borated water.

All the foams were investigated for their radiation shielding efficiency in terms of X ray, gamma ray and neutron. X-ray transmission measurements were carried out on a highresolution microcomputed tomography (microCT) system. Gamma-emitting sources: 3.0mCi 60Co, 1.8mCi 137Cs , 13.5mCi 124Am, and 5.0mCi 133Ba were used for gamma-ray attenuation analysis. The evaluations of neutron transmission measurements were conducted at the Neutron Powder Diffractometer beam facility at North Carolina State University. The experimental results were verified theoretically through XCOM and Monte Carlo Z-particle Transport Code (MCNP).

A mechanical investigation was performed by the means of quasi-static compressive testing. Thermal characterizations were carried out through effective thermal conductivity and thermal expansion analyses in terms of high temperature guarded-comparativelongitudinal heat flow technique and thermomechanical analyzer (TMA), respectively. The experimental results were compared with analytical results obtained from respectively Brailsford and Major’s model and modified Turner’s model for verification. Flame test was performed in accordance with United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) standard. CMF sample and a 304L stainless steel control sample were subjected to a fully engulfing fire with an average flame temperature of 800°C for a period of 30 minutes. Finite Element Analysis was conducted to secure the credibility of the experimental results.

This research indicates the potential of utilizing the lightweight close-cell CMFs and open-cell Al foam with fillers as shielding material replacing current heavy structures with additional advantage of high-energy absorption and excellent thermal characteristics.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rabiei, Afsaneh
School: North Carolina State University
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mechanical engineering, Nuclear engineering, Materials science
Keywords: Compression testing, Metal foams, Radiation shielding
Publication Number: 10110535
ISBN: 9781339737805
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