Ultrasonic technologies offer the potential for high accuracy and resolution in-pile measurement of numerous parameters, including geometry changes, temperature, crack initiation and growth, gas pressure and composition, and microstructural changes. Many Department of Energy-Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) programs are exploring the use of ultrasonic technologies to provide enhanced sensors for in-pile instrumentation during irradiation testing. For example, the ability of single, small diameter ultrasonic thermometers (UTs) to provide a temperature profile in candidate metallic and oxide fuel would provide much needed data for validating new fuel performance models. Other efforts include an ultrasonic technique to detect morphology changes (such as crack initiation and growth) and acoustic techniques to evaluate fission gas composition and pressure. These efforts are limited by the lack of existing knowledge of ultrasonic transducer material survivability under irradiation conditions. To address this need, the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) was awarded an Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility (ATR NSUF) project to evaluate promising magnetostrictive and piezoelectric transducer performance in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor (MITR) up to a fast fluence of at least 1021 n/cm2 (E > 0.1 MeV). This test will be an instrumented lead test; and real-time transducer performance data will be collected along with temperature and neutron and gamma flux data. By characterizing magnetostrictive and piezoelectric transducer survivability during irradiation, test results will enable the development of novel radiation tolerant ultrasonic sensors for use in Material and Test Reactors (MTRs). The current work bridges the gap between proven out-of-pile ultrasonic techniques and in-pile deployment of ultrasonic sensors by acquiring the data necessary to demonstrate the performance of ultrasonic transducers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering