Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Co-Nitriding Uranium and Dysprosium Metals by Reactive Milling

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Darryl Butt


Nitride materials such as uranium nitride are currently being explored for use in next generation fast-spectrum nuclear reactors. Nitrides are feasible candidates due to their high actinide densities, low coefficient of thermal expansions, and high melting temperatures. In order for nitrides to be viable fuel candidates, synthesis routes must be developed to economically produce large quantities of high purity powders. Previous research on uranium nitride synthesis has focused primarily on the carbothermic reduction of uranium dioxide (UO2) which requires high reaction temperatures and long synthesis times. However, the novel reactive milling synthesis technique presented in this study is used to complete the nitride reaction at room temperature in a relatively short amount of time. The focus of this study is to determine the effects of the addition of dysprosium metal (as a surrogate for americium) to the uranium reactive ball milling process. The reactive milling characteristics were studied from 0 - 100% Dy. Pure uranium and dysprosium metals along with milling media were placed in a milling vessel which was then pressurized with purified nitrogen gas. The vessel was then placed in a high energy planetary ball mill for milling. The resultant powder was analyzed for phases using x-ray diffraction and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. The particle size distribution was analyzed using a laser scattering particle size analyzer as well as scanning electron microscopy.