|About this Abstract
||2021 TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition
||Thermal Property Characterization, Modeling, and Theory in Extreme Environments
||Enhanced thermal conductivity for sol-gel derived fuel candidates
||Sarah C. Finkeldei, Rodney Hunt, Jim Kiggans, Kurt Terrani, Andrew Nelson
|On-Site Speaker (Planned)
||Sarah C. Finkeldei
Uranium dioxide is the most commonly used fuel in nuclear power plants for energy production. Enhancing the thermal properties of UO<sub>2</sub> based fuel candidates will improve the operation of worldwide fleet of LWRs. Enhancement of thermal conductivity in UO<sub>2</sub> can be achieved by addition of a second phase with a significantly higher thermal conductivity compared to UO<sub>2</sub>. Here, we fabricated a microspherical UO<sub>3</sub> precursor via an internal sol-gel route. Laser flash analysis of nominally pure UO<sub>2</sub> reference pellets fabricated from this microspherical feedstock revealed already an increase in thermal conductivity compared to pellets prepared by conventional powder processing. UO<sub>2</sub>-Mo composite fuel candidates (5, 10 vol% Mo) with a dispersed Mo phase in the UO<sub>2</sub> matrix led to an increase of up to 30% in thermal conductivity. Future irradiation studies will enable post irradiation examination studies to evaluate the in-reactor performance of this potential composite fuel candidate.