Thermal Interdiffusion Products of U-10Mo in Al Matrix
New nuclear fuel material with high density in uranium is envisaged for intense irradiation research reactors. The alloy U-Mo has been researched as a feasible candidate to be used in such reactors. This nuclear fuel is conceived to be used encapsulated in aluminum matrix. Nevertheless, there are interaction products of U-Mo/Al which form porosity during irradiation, leading to routine operation harms in research reactors. This interaction is due to solid solution interdiffusion of species, mainly of Al towards U-Mo region forming reaction products. This interaction could be studied by on-pile method, observing the occurrence of formed products during irradiation, but this method is costly and used only for long term experiments in very few reactors in the world. For this, several out-of-pile studies using heat treatments of diffusion pairs are carried out at adequate temperatures and times, just below the -phase eutectoid temperature to simulating the interdiffusion and formation U-Mo-Al phases. In the present study, it was employed a new developed assembling method to prepare interdiffusion pairs by immersing sliced U-10Mo sticks inside molten Al. These samples are made by induction furnace, in temperature range ~660-670 °C, under controlled argon atmosphere, in order to entrap molten Al around U-Mo sticks and so keeping this entangled structure after solidification. The interdiffusion pairs are then cut and prepared for treatments. This novel sample preparation guarantees full contact between the U-Mo and Al without oxidation contact, creating so, the ideal conditions for interdiffusion investigation of the interfaces of Al/U-Mo. Preliminary results to study interaction products where achieved by heat treatments during 5h at 550°C. Observations and calculations from SEM/EDS microstructures and XRD diffractograms revealed few microns interaction layer between the matrix and the fuel material, resembling phases reported in the literature for the interaction products between U-Mo-Al. This layer is mainly composed by Al and U, Mo phases, probably (U, Mo)Al3 and phases containing Si, as U3Si5 and a proposed one Al2Si3U3 that fits better to XRD spectrum of experimented diffusion pairs.
Lucio Salgado and Francisco Ambrozio Filho
I. C. Martins et al., "Thermal Interdiffusion Products of U-10Mo in Al Matrix", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 660-661, pp. 69-75, 2010