Title of Submission
Surrogate Nuclear Fuels Synthesis and Crack Behavior
Materials Science and Engineering, PhD
Major Advisor Name
Type of Submission
Behavior of ceramic nuclear fuels during power ramps and reactor transients is important due to higher risks of fuel failure during these operating conditions. This research focuses on the fabrication and crack behavior of ceria as a surrogate to urania in nuclear fuel applications. Fabrication techniques were optimized for microstructure, stoichiometry, and mechanical integrity. Samples were characterized using electron and optical microscopy, x-ray diffraction, Archimedes density, and oxygen analysis. CeO2 samples were 96%TD with 28µm grain sizes, and substoichiometric. Crack propagation behavior of the pellets was initiated using a novel rapid inductive heating technique developed to couple with in-situ imaging.