Water Corrosion Measurements on Tungsten Irradiated with High Energy Protons and Spallation Neutrons

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A detailed analysis was performed on the degradation of a tungsten target under water cooling while being exposed to a 761 MeV proton beam at an average current of 0.867 mA to a maximum fluence of 1.3 × 1021 protons/cm2. The target consisted of 3 mm diameter tungsten rods arranged in bundles and cooled with deionized water flowing over their length. Degradation of the tungsten was measured through analyzing water resistivity, tungsten concentration in water samples that were taken during irradiation and through dimensional measurements on the rods after irradiation. Chemical analysis of irradiated water samples showed W concentrations up to 35 μg/ml. Gamma analysis showed increases in concentrations of many isotopes including W-178, Lu-171, Tm-167, Tm-166, Yb-169 and Hf-175. Dimensional measurements performed after irradiation on the W rods revealed a decrease in diameter as a function of position that followed closely the Gaussian proton beam profile along the rod length and indicated a definite beam-effect. A general decrease in diameter, especially on the coolant-water entrance point where turbulent flow was likely, also suggests a chemically and mechanically-driven corrosion effect. A method to estimate the apparent corrosion rate based on proton fluence is presented and application of this method estimates the material loss rate at about 1.9 W atoms/incident proton. From this result, the corrosion rate of tungsten in a 761 MeV, 0.867 mA proton beam was calculated to be 0.073 cm/full power year. of irradiation.