Microstructure of laser-melted zirconium carbide ceramics

Jackson, Heather, Jayaseelan, Daniel, Clegg, William, Reece, Michael, Inam, Fawad, Manara, Dario, Casoni, Carlo Perinetti and Lee, William Edward (2010) Microstructure of laser-melted zirconium carbide ceramics. In: Advances in Materials Science for Environmental and Nuclear Technology. Ceramic Transactions, 222 . Wiley, Hoboken, pp. 113-125. ISBN 978-0-470-92729-8

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470930991.ch11

Abstract

Zirconium carbide (ZrC) is a candidate material for advanced nuclear fuels for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, but its durability and performance under irradiation is still under investigation. In particular, the effect of carbon vacancies on thermodynamic, mechanical, and heat transport properties of ZrC must be better understood.

As part of a novel thermal analysis technique, melting of ceramics in the Zr-C system was investigated via pulsed laser heating. Ceramics were prepared by spark plasma sintering of commercial powders or powders derived from carbothermal reduction of zirconia. Laser pulses (400-3600 ms) heated samples above their liquidus temperatures (3200-3700 K) up to 4000 K.

Dendritic microstructure observed on laser-heated surfaces confirmed the formation of liquid. The laser-modified microstructure consisted of single-phase ZrC and lamellar ZrC+C eutectic, in proportions consistent with the equilibrium phase diagram. Non-equilibrium distribution of phases prevailed in subsurface regions of samples undergoing non-isothermal solidification. Porosity, generated by impurities and coalesced by material flow, existed throughout the heat-affected region.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: laser-melted zirconium carbide ceramics, microstructure, nuclear fuels, gas-cooled reactors, pulsed laser heating
Subjects: F200 Materials Science
H300 Mechanical Engineering
H400 Aerospace Engineering
J300 Ceramics and Glasses
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: Fawad Inam
Date Deposited: 24 May 2013 15:39
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 11:24
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/12678

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