Corrosion Behaviors of Structural Materials in Liquid Gallium and Gallium Alloy Environments for Nuclear Application

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Corrosion Behaviors of Structural Materials in Liquid Gallium and Gallium Alloy Environments for Nuclear Application
Shin, Sang Hun
Kim, Ji Hyun
Gallium; Active control of oxygen partial pressure; Corrosion behaviors
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Graduate school of UNIST
Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR) is one of promising candidates among Gen IV nuclear energy systems. Among liquid metal, sodium is a spotlighted coolant material for designing fast breeder reactor. However, high activity of sodium with water and air is the major disadvantage that forces to search for alternatives. On the other aspects, the liquid metal including gallium generally interacts with structural materials, and it may cause Liquid-Metal-Embrittlement (LME) to materials in certain condition. The purpose of this work is to examine the interaction between steels and liquid gallium or gallium alloys to evaluate the potential application of gallium for fast reactor coolants. In fact, gallium could be a good candidate for use as a liquid metal in the field of GEN IV nuclear system since it has low melting point (29°C), high boiling point (2204°C) and high safety against explosion. However, gallium has a high affinity for many metals and alloys, especially steels. For the prevention of liquid gallium corrosion with stainless steels, an active control of oxygen partial pressure which has been extensively studied for lead-bismuth corrosion could be adopted in this gallium environment. The liquidus of gallium alloy (Ga-14Sn-6Zn and Ga-8Sn-6Zn) is 26°C and 19.5°C, respectively. Simultaneously, neutron absorption cross-section is reduced by these alloy process. In this study, SS 316L and pre-oxidized specimens were exposed to static gallium and gallium alloys (Ga-14Sn-6zn and Ga-8Sn-6Zn) at 500°C for time up to 700 hr both in air and vacuum conditions (5x10-6 torr). The results have shown that the corrosion resistance of pre-oxidized specimens was improved compared to bare specimens in metal loss data. The weight change and metal loss were generally reduced in vacuum condition and also in gallium alloy environments. General behavior of developing reaction layer within the effect of pre-oxidation was that pre-oxidized specimens, in any conditions, had developed as thick as reaction layers on bare specimens.
Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy
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