Investigating the Effects of Stress on the Material Properties of Graphite Moderators using Confocal Laser Microscopy

Joshua Taylor, Graham Hall, Paul Mummery

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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    Abstract

    A detailed understanding of the properties of graphite is required to ensure its safe and continued use as a moderator, and as a structural component, in British nuclear reactors. Considerable stresses are generated in graphite components during reactor operation, which can affect the reactor’s ability to cool the fuel and shut down. Therefore, graphite’s response to such stresses must be understood. The behaviour of the pore structure and Young’s modulus are of particular interest, due to their importance to the strength and integrity of the material.A confocal microscope was used to image samples while they were axially stressed, allowing three-dimensional surface profiles to be produced. By taking images at varying levels of stress, changes to the microstructure of the material were observed. Digital image correlation was performed on the micrographs to produce strain maps. These observations formed the basis of an explanation of the behaviour of graphite bricks in nuclear reactors, in response to loading stresses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEngineering Challenges Associated with the Life of Graphite Reactor Cores
    Place of PublicationUK
    Publisheremas
    ISBN (Print)9780957673052
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe 4th EDF Energy Nuclear Graphite Symposium. Engineering Challenges Associated with the Life of Graphite Reactor Cores - The National College for Teaching and Leadership in Nottingham, UK.
    Duration: 6 May 20149 May 2014

    Conference

    ConferenceThe 4th EDF Energy Nuclear Graphite Symposium. Engineering Challenges Associated with the Life of Graphite Reactor Cores
    CityThe National College for Teaching and Leadership in Nottingham, UK.
    Period6/05/149/05/14

    Keywords

    • graphite
    • AGR
    • nuclear power
    • PGA
    • stress
    • porosity

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