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IN PRESS Fusion Engineering and Design xxx (2015) xxx–xxx Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Fusion

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Fusion Engineering and Design

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/fusengdes

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/fusengdes Thermo-mechanical screening tests to qualify beryllium

Thermo-mechanical screening tests to qualify beryllium pebble beds with non-spherical pebbles

Joerg Reimann a, , Benjamin Fretz b , Simone Pupeschi c

a IKET, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

b KBHF GmbH, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

c IAM, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

h i g

h l i g

h t s

In present ceramic breeder blankets, pebble-shaped beryllium is used as a neutron multiplier.

Spherical pebbles are considered as the candidate material, however, non-spherical particles are of economic interest.

Thermo-mechanical pebble bed data do merely exist for non-spherical beryllium grades.

Uniaxial compression tests (UCTs), combined with the Hot Wire Technique (HWT) were used to measure the stress–strain relations and the thermal conductivity.

A small experimental set-up had to be used and a detailed 3D modelling was of prime importance.

Compared to spherical pebble beds, non-spherical pebble beds are generally softer and mainly the thermal conductivity is lower.

a r

t i c

l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 12 September 2014 Received in revised form 19 February 2015 Accepted 16 April 2015 Available online xxx

Keywords:

Granular materials Beryllium Pebble beds Thermal conductivity Ceramic breeder blanket

a b s t r a c t

In present ceramic breeder blankets, pebble-shaped beryllium is used as a neutron multiplier. Fairly spherical pebbles are considered as a candidate material, however, non-spherical particles are of eco- nomic interest because production costs are much lower. Yet, thermo-mechanical pebble bed data do merely exist for these beryllium grades, and the blanket relevant potential of these grades cannot be judged. Screening experiments were performed with three different grades of non-spherical beryllium pebbles, produced by different companies, accompanied by experiments with the reference beryllium pebble beds. Uniaxial compression tests (UCTs), combined with the Hot Wire Technique (HWT), were performed to measure both the stress–strain relation and the thermal conductivity, k, at different stress levels. Because of the limited amounts of the non-spherical materials, the experimental set-ups were small and a detailed 3D modelling was of prime importance in order to prove that the used design was appropriate. Compared to the pebble beds consisting of spherical pebbles, non-spherical pebble beds are generally softer (smaller stress for a given strain), and, mainly as a consequence of this, for a given strain value, the thermal conductivity is lower. This means for blanket operation that the desired increase of thermal conductivity during thermal compression is smaller.

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

In present ceramic breeder blankets, pebble-shaped beryllium is used as a multiplier. The candidate material Be-1 consists of fairly spherical pebbles with diameters of d 1 mm. Non-spherical beryllium particles can be produced much cheaper and, therefore, are of significant economic interest. There is a large database of

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 721811810. E-mail address: joerg.reimann@partner.kit.edu (J. Reimann).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fusengdes.2015.04.046

0920-3796/© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

thermo-mechanical properties for Be-1, see e.g., [1–4], but nearly no data exist for non-spherical grades. The fundamental characterization of pebble beds consists of (i) blanket relevant filling experiments for measuring the packing fac- tor ( is the ratio of pebble volume to total volume), (ii) uniaxial compression tests (UCTs) in order to determine the pebble bed stress–strain ( ε) relation, (iii) the measurement of the pebble bed thermal conductivity, k. Three grades of non-spherical beryllium pebbles were inves- tigated: Be-A and Be-C produced by the Bochvar Institute [5], Russia, and Be-D from Materion, USA, see Fig. 1. These grades were

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et al. / Fusion Engineering and Design xxx (2015) xxx–xxx Fig. 1. Investigated Be pebble grades.

Fig. 1. Investigated Be pebble grades.

manufactured by crushing sintered beryllium blocks and subse- quent grinding. Scrap-type pebbles were obtained with largest dimensions of 2.5 mm. Because the available amounts of these grades was limited (120 cm 3 ), the experimental set-ups had to be small, which is especially unfavourable for the k measurement, as outlined below. Therefore, experiments with Be-1 from NGK, Japan, were also carried out and the comparison between the different beryllium grades is important (screening experiments). Results of filling experiments showed no significant differences of the packing factor for the spherical and the non-spherical pebbles [5–7]. This paper contains results on UCTs combined with the Hot Wire Technique (HWT) to measure k.

2. Experimental and data evaluation

2.1. Experimental

The experiments were performed in a glove-box in a helium atmosphere at ambient temperature. The small pebble bed volume excluded the use the HECOP facility [3] for k measurement and instead the HWT was chosen. Fig. 2 shows schematically the UCT set-up with the cylindrical container (inner diameter D cyl = 60 mm, height H cyl = 50 mm) and the HW which consisted of an indirectly heated heater (outer diameter: 1 mm, thickness of outer stainless steel tube: 0.1 mm, MgO insulator thickness: 0.3 mm, diameter of the inner electrically heated wire: 0.2 mm, heated length within the pebble bed: L = 55 mm, position above cylinder bottom: 25 mm) with two 0.25 mm diameter thermocouples welded on the wire surface. Before the container was positioned in the press, the pebble bed was densified by vibration. Table 1 shows the obtained packing factors, , and the maximum uniaxial stresses, , of the UCTs.

2.2. HWT: modelling and data evaluation

The pulsed HWT is a standard technique for the k measurement of, primarily, low k materials [8]. A linear heat source (thin wire) is embedded in the centre of the investigated material with large outer dimensions. The temperature rise of the wire is measured

piston 4 diplacemen t transmitters TC TC hot wire D=60mm pebble bed Fig. 2. Experimental
piston
4 diplacemen t
transmitters
TC
TC
hot wire
D=60mm
pebble bed
Fig. 2. Experimental set-up.

by thermocouples welded on the wire surface. At time t = 0, the electric power is switched on. By analyzing the temperature rise of the heater over a defined time interval the thermal conductivity of the surrounding material can be derived. Typical temperature vs. the logarithm of time graphs for the transient hot wire method show a linear region between two non-linear portions at both short and long times. The non-linearity at short times is caused by the HW heat capacity and the heat resistance between the wire and the surrounding material, while the non-linearity associated to long times is related to the boundary effect at the container walls. For the evaluation of k, only the linear region is relevant. After a certain time period when the HW heat capacity and the HW heat transfer coefficient, HTC, no longer play a role, Eq. (1) holds

k = q/(4 ) ln(t 2 /t 1 )/(T 2 T 1 ),

(1)

where q is the electrical power per unit length, q = Q/L. Then, Eq. (1) results in a straight curve with the slope (T 2 T 1 )/ln(t 2 /t 1 ). In the present tests, two requirements of the HWT are not well fulfilled:

Low k: The term (T 2 T 1 ) must be sufficiently large for achiev- ing a good measurement accuracy. This is difficult for beryllium pebble beds, however, satisfactory results could be obtained even for strongly compressed beryllium pebble beds [9] by fitting the temperature curves in the time range of interest by a 3rd order polynomial and using its derivative in Eq. (1). Large container dimensions: The small container dimensions result in a temperature curve without a constant slope, see Fig. 3 which shows the HW temperature as a function of the time t* = log t. After t* 0.5, the slope is still a slight function of time. In order to quantify this effect, a 3D model was developed, as outlined below, which describes in detail the experimental set-up including the inner structure of the HW. The transient thermal analyses have been carried out with the Finite Element commercial code ANSYS [10]. Because of

Table 1

Experimental parameters.

Batch

Exp. no.

(%)

max (MPa)

Be-1

1

61.64

7.0

Be-1

2

62.35

4.8

Be-A

3

61.79

4.3

Be-A

4

63.16

4.7

Be-C

5

59.46

3.9

Be-D

6

60.90

4.7

Be-D

7

62.12

4.4

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50 Exp 2d 40 meas 3D calc 30 20 10 0 -1 -0,5 0 0,5
50
Exp 2d
40
meas
3D calc
30
20
10
0
-1
-0,5
0
0,5
1
1,5
2
T (°C)

t*= log t [s]

Fig. 3. Measured and calculated T/I 2 = f(t*).

Fig. 3. Measured and calculated T / I 2 = f ( t *). Fig. 4.

Fig. 4. Mesh of 3D model.

symmetries, only a quarter of the experimental set-up was implemented, see Fig. 4. All the symmetrical surfaces, as well as all the outer surfaces of the container, have been considered as adiabatic surfaces. The heat resistances between the heater surface and pebble bed and between the bed and the container wall were simulated by applying an HTC, which enables ANSYS to describe the different heat transfer mechanisms of pebble beds close to walls compared to the bulk region. At a time t = 0, the internal heat generation is applied to the heater simulating the electric power of the experiment. The internal heat generation is kept constant for the duration of the simulation. The numerical modelling aims to generate a T = f(t*) dependence which agrees with the measured one, see Fig. 3. For the calculation, a nominal value for the pebble bed thermal conductivity has to be assumed, and then, the measured curve is approached by varying the HTCs at the HW and the container walls. Both the measured and the calculated k depend on time t*, see Fig. 5. An iteration procedure is required in order to vary the nominal

k in such a way that the measured and calculated k-values agree at the same value of t*. For k = 4 W/mK, the only solution exists at

t* = 1.6. This procedure is carried out for several experimental points

in order to determine the calibration curve k = f (t cal ). Fig. 6 shows the result for Exp 2 with Be-1. In the same way, the calibration curve

for the non-spherical grades was obtained.

3. Results

The achieved packing factors were generally smaller than the value 63.5%, considered as reference value, obtained with a sig- nificantly larger container [2]. The decrease of with decreasing

5,0 Exp 2d: nominal value for 3D calc: k=4W/mK meas. 3D calc. 4,5 4,0 3,5
5,0
Exp 2d: nominal value for 3D calc: k=4W/mK
meas.
3D calc.
4,5
4,0
3,5
3,0
1
1,2
1,4
1,6
1,8
2
k [W/mK]

t*= logt(s)

Fig. 5. Measured and calculated k = f(t*).

10,0 9,0 Be-1: k calibration: k = 16,559t* 2 - 65,864t* + 66,839 8,0 t*cal
10,0
9,0
Be-1:
k calibration: k = 16,559t* 2 - 65,864t* + 66,839
8,0
t*cal
7,0
2a
2b
6,0
2d
2e
5,0
2g
2i
4,0
3,0
2d meas: k = 1,0442t* 2 - 1,6185t* + 3,9404
2,0
1,0
0,0
1,0
1,2
1,4
1,6
1,8
2,0
k [W/mK]

t*=log t

Fig. 6. Be-1: measured k and calibration curve for Be-1.

container dimensions is primarily caused by the fact that the vol- ume fractions of the wall layers with d/2 thicknesses increase, for details, see [11]. Fig. 7 shows the uniaxial stress, , as a function of the pebble bed strain, ε, obtained by the UCTs. For most experiments, at inter- mediate or maximum values some cycles were also carried out. With decreasing , the pebble beds become “softer”, that is, for a

, the pebble beds become “softer”, that is, for a Fig. 7. Stress increase and cycling

Fig. 7. Stress increase and cycling curves.

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10 Be-1, Exp1 Be-1, Exp2 Be-A, Exp3 Be-A, Exp4 8 Be-C, Exp5 Be-D, Exp6 Be-D,
10
Be-1, Exp1
Be-1, Exp2
Be-A,
Exp3
Be-A, Exp4
8
Be-C,
Exp5
Be-D, Exp6
Be-D,
Exp7
HECOP [2]
HW [9]
6
4
2
0
0,00
0,25
0,50
0,75
1,00
1,25
1,50
uniaxial strain
ε (%)
thermal conductivity k(W/mK)

Fig. 8. Thermal conductivity for first stress increase.

10 Be-1, Exp1 Be-1, Exp2 8 Be-A, Exp3 Be-A, Exp4 Be-C, Exp5 6 Be-D, Exp6
10
Be-1, Exp1
Be-1, Exp2
8
Be-A, Exp3
Be-A, Exp4
Be-C, Exp5
6
Be-D, Exp6
Be-D, Exp7
4
2
0
0
1 2 3 4
5
uniaxial stress
σ(MPa)
thermal conductivity k(W/mK)

Fig. 9. Thermal conductivity as a function of stress.

The thermal conductivity was also measured at distinct points of the stress decrease curve. As observed previously [2–4], k decreases only to a small extend from the maximum value, measured at the beginning of the stress decrease cycle. This is caused (i) by the closer packing of pebbles, (compare the small strain changes in Fig. 7), (ii) larger contact numbers, and by (iii) increased contact zones because of plastic deformation. Pebble size distributions were measured before and after the UCT tests. No measurable quantities of fractured particles were found.

4. Summary and conclusions

Screening experiments were performed to investigate the thermo-mechanical behaviour of beryllium pebble beds consisting of non-spherical pebbles. For comparison, experiments with spher- ical pebbles, considered as reference material, were performed as well. Compared to the reference pebble beds, the thermal con- ductivity for non-spherical pebble beds is lower caused by (i) the softer bed behaviour (smaller stress for a given strain ε value), and, (ii) the generation of smaller contact surfaces because of the non-regular pebble shape. The results from previous filling experiments [5–7] and the present investigations are only considered as a first step in respect to the thermomechanical characterization of non-spherical pebble beds. These investigations should be repeated with more rele- vant experimental set-ups when it has been demonstrated that

the degradation under irradiation of these pebbles (or small pebble stacks) is acceptable.

References

given stress, , value, a larger strain, ε, occurs. Be-1, and Exp 4 with Be-A, show the stiffest behaviour but the values are still below the reference correlation [2]. Fig. 8 summarizes the k measurements for the first pressure increase period by keeping the stress constant during the HW mea- surements. The results for the rather spherical Be-1 pebbles are again below the previously proposed correlations. However, the values are still significantly above the results for the non-spherical grades. One reason for this can be the softer pebble bed behaviour of the non-spherical grades, see Fig. 7, because for a given ε value, the compression is smaller and with this the increase of contact surfaces. This argument does not hold for Exp 4, where the k values are also smaller although the stress–strain dependence is similar to Be-1. In a graph k = f( ), Fig. 9, the differences between Be-1 and the non-spherical grades are smaller but still the candidate pebble beds are at the upper bound which can indicate that the generated contact surfaces are smaller for the scrap-type pebbles. For blanket operation, the pebble bed strain is the primary parameter because the constrained expansions between blanket box and pebble beds are the reason for the stress build-up. There- fore, Fig. 8 is of prime relevance.

[1] J. Reimann, L. Boccaccini, M. Enoeda, A.Y. Ying, Thermomechanics of solid

[2]

breeder and Be pebble bed materials, Fus. Eng. Des. 61–62 (2002) 319–331. J. Reimann, G. Piazza, H. Harsch, Thermal conductivity of compressed beryllium

[3]

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