The Nuclear Materials Laboratory
The Nuclear Materials Laboratory is equipped and licensed for working with uranium and thorium based fuels with radiological hoods and inert atmosphere gloveboxes also used for working with pyrophoric materials. Metallographic and sample preparation tools are used for preparing materials for analysis in USC microscopy ad microanalysis instruments or for analysis at partner institutions.High temperature, controlled atmosphere furnaces are used for advanced fuel fabrication and testing. Induction heated furnaces are used to 3000 K and a longer duration tube furnace is used to temperatures up to 1900 K. A custom-built, fluidized-bed, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system is used for coating of fuel kernels including advanced TRISO fuels with ZrC. Other instruments used for nuclear fuels characterization include particle size, porosimetry, density, and surface area analysis. Thermogravimetric and differential scanning calorimetry instruments are also employed in these studies at temperatures up to 2250 K.