Synthesis and Properties of Reaction-Bonded SiC Ceramic with Embedded UO2 - TRISO Coated Particles
Ceramics based on SiC are characterized by extreme hardness, high thermal conductivity, relatively low thermal expansion and chemical durability. In principle, SiC ceramics can be considered as a long-term stable matrix for final disposal of radioactive waste, such as coated fuel particles (CP) separated from the graphite matrix from spent HTR (high-temperature gas-cooled reactor) fuel pebbles. In the present work, SiC-based ceramic with the embedded UO2 - TRISO (tristructural-isotropic) coated particles was synthesized by the reaction-bonding process. The synthesis was performed in standard SiC crucible. Several physico-mechanical properties of the synthesized samples were investigated. It was shown that the coated particles in the reaction-bonded silicon carbide (RBSiC) matrix are distributed homogeneously. The amount of pores is insignificant and the crippling of the coated particles is not observed. Besides, the junction between CP and RBSiC matrix and between RBSiC matrix and the SiC crucible is very good. For all ceramic components of the synthesized samples, namely, for the UO2-kernels, SiC-layers, SiC crucible wall and for the synthesized RBSiC ceramics, the values of microhardness and fracture toughness were measured and compared with the reference data. The strength properties, such as tensile strength of the synthesized samples, failure mechanism of the reaction-bonded SiC ceramic with embedded UO2 - TRISO coated particles, microstructure of the fracture surfaces, the peculiarities of the coated particles fracture were investigated in detail. Moreover, the diffusion of radioactive tracers (137Cs, 241Am, 36Cl, 3H) across synthesized ceramic was studied and the high safety characteristics of the synthesized ceramic were demonstrated.
Pietro VINCENZINI, Hua-Tay LIN and Kevin FOX
A. Bukaemskiy et al., "Synthesis and Properties of Reaction-Bonded SiC Ceramic with Embedded UO2 - TRISO Coated Particles", Advances in Science and Technology, Vol. 73, pp. 136-141, 2010