Journal Highlight: Application of X-ray microcomputed tomography in the characterization of irradiated nuclear fuel and material specimens

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  • Published: Nov 9, 2015
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: X-ray Spectrometry
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Application of X-ray microcomputed tomography in the characterization of irradiated nuclear fuel and material specimens
X-ray microcomputed tomography was applied in characterizing the internal structures of a number of irradiated materials, including carbon-carbon fibre composites, nuclear-grade graphite and tristructural isotropic-coated fuel particles.

Application of X-ray microcomputed tomography in the characterization of irradiated nuclear fuel and material specimens

Journal of Microscopy, 2015, 260, 163-174
C.M. Silva, L.L. Snead, J.D. Hunn, E.D. Specht, K.A. Terrani and Y. Katoh

Abstract: X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT) was applied in characterizing the internal structures of a number of irradiated materials, including carbon-carbon fibre composites, nuclear-grade graphite and tristructural isotropic-coated fuel particles. Local cracks in carbon-carbon fibre composites associated with their synthesis process were observed with μCT without any destructive sample preparation. Pore analysis of graphite samples was performed quantitatively, and qualitative analysis of pore distribution was accomplished. It was also shown that high-resolution μCT can be used to probe internal layer defects of tristructural isotropic-coated fuel particles to elucidate the resulting high release of radioisotopes. Layer defects of sizes ranging from 1 to 5 μm and up could be isolated by tomography. As an added advantage, μCT could also be used to identify regions with high densities of radioisotopes to determine the proper plane and orientation of particle mounting for further analytical characterization, such as materialographic sectioning followed by optical and electron microscopy. In fully ceramic matrix fuel forms, despite the highly absorbing matrix, characterization of tristructural isotropic-coated particles embedded in a silicon carbide matrix was accomplished using μCT and related advanced image analysis techniques.

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