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Influence of Temperature on the Micro- and Nanostructures of Experimental PBMR TRISO Coated Particles: A Comparative Study

[+] Author Affiliations
Isabel J. van Rooyen, Johannes Mahlangu

Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (Pty.) Ltd., Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa

Jan H. Neethling

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Paper No. HTR2008-58189, pp. 339-348; 10 pages
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Volume 1
  • Washington, DC, USA, September 28–October 1, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4854-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3834-1
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The PBMR fuel consists of TRISO Coated Particles (CPs) in a graphite matrix. The three layer system, IPyC-SiC-OPyC, forms the primary barrier to fission product release, with the SiC layer acting as the main pressure boundary of the particle. The containment of fission products inside the CPs is however a function of the operating temperature and microstructure of the SiC layer. During accident conditions, the CPs will reach higher temperatures than normal operating conditions. The Fuel Design department of PBMR is therefore investigating various characteristics of the SiC layer, especially nano characteristics at variant conditions. The integrity of the interface between the SiC and Inner PyC layers is also important for fission product retention and therefore interesting TEM images of this region of the experimental PBMR TRISO particles will be shown. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of the microstructure of TRISO coated particles of three different experimental batches after annealing will be discussed. Particles annealed at 1980°C for 1 hour revealed that the inner PyC layer debonded from the SiC layer. Changes observed in the diffraction rings are evidence that the PyC structure is becoming organized or anisotropic. The SiC layer, on the other hand, did not show any changes as a result of annealing. Only the cubic 3C-SiC phase was observed for a limited number of grains analyzed. The nano hardness and elasticity measurements of the three test batches were done using a CSM Nano Hardness Tester. These results are compared to indicate possible differences between the 1 hour and 5 hour annealing time as a function of annealing temperature from 1000°C to 1980°C. The variation of hardness and elasticity as a function of temperature for the three experimental batches are identified and discussed. This preliminary TEM investigation and nano hardness measurements have contributed new knowledge about the effect of high temperature annealing on the microstructure of TRISO CPs produced by PBMR.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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