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Report of Experiment:

Simulation of the Penn State Graphite Pile using MCNP5: Slowing Down Length
Nuclear Engineering 451: Experiments in Reactor Physics: Section 003

Brenden Heidrich

Laboratory Group #2 Michael Stone Andrew Gross Andy Sieber

Date of Performance Date Report Due Date Report Submitted

9/13/2011 9/20/2011 9/20/2011

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length

Laboratory Objective The purpose of this lab is was introduce the group to the Los Alamos National Lab designed code MCNP. We then utilized the Monte Carlo N-Particle code to simulate the graphite pile lab performed two weeks ago. The simulation is done by tracking neutrons at specific energies and detecting whether they are absorbed or scattered. Then, using the output deck of the performed runs, the Fermi age and subsequent slowing down lengths were calculated off of information from the plotted data. This data was compared to the first lab performed on the graphite pile and an analysis was composed Experimental Procedure This lab was performed according to the procedure contained in lab manual [1]. First, MS-DOS Prompt was initiated and the input decks were opened. Each deck was run for 30 minutes until all data was obtained. Utilizing the tally data 1 through 5, the neutron flux distance from the source according to respective energies were imported into excel. After all data was organized into tables, graphs of the flux vs. distance from the source were created. Using the absolute value of the exponential constant in the slope equation, the value was then multiplied by 4 and the reciprocal was taken to obtain the Fermi age. Then the square root of the Fermi age was calculated for the slowing down length. Finally, after all decks were executed and a respective Fermi age and slowing down lengths were calculated, a comparison to the first two labs experimental achieved results was performed. Equipment The pieces of equipment used in this experiment were a computer from the APB computer classroom, Microsoft Excel to record all data and plot all figures, notepad to load the input decks, and MCNP5 to simulate neutron transport in the Penn State graphite pile. Because this was only a simulation of neutron transport in the graphite pile, only a computer and accessible programs were used and no detectors, NIM equipment, or counting devices were needed.

Data The data below was collected during lab. Three Monte Carlo codes were used to simulate the movement of fast neutrons through graphite. Table 1, Figure 1, and Figure 2 represent the data collected using the SDLB Monte Carlo code. Table 1 shows the neutron flux collected at 5 different distances of neutrons at 4 different energy levels. Figures 1 and 2 are plots using the data in Table 1. Figure 1 is a plot of only the 60 eV neutrons. It is important to note that only three codes were ran because it was stated that the only noticeable difference in data between simulations MATB and MATA is the uncertainty values. Therefore, only MATB was ran and the data can be seen below.

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length

Table 1. Flux values at different energy values for each tally distance for the SDLB code. Energy (MeV) Flux Values at each Distance (cm^-2 s^-1) 10.5 cm 20.5 cm 30.5 cm 40.5 cm 50.5 cm 1.00E-06 9.55E-05 8.54E-05 7.16E-05 5.50E-05 4.19E-05 6.00E-05 1.80E-04 1.37E-04 8.51E-05 5.42E-05 3.20E-05 1.00E+00 7.60E-03 2.04E-03 7.89E-04 3.65E-04 1.77E-04 1.20E+01 8.52E-02 2.97E-02 1.14E-02 4.71E-03 2.05E-03

2.00E-04 1.80E-04 Neutron Flux [cm^-2 s^-1] 1.60E-04 1.40E-04 1.20E-04 1.00E-04 8.00E-05 6.00E-05 4.00E-05 2.00E-05 0.00E+00 0.0 500.0 1,000.0 1,500.0 2,000.0 2,500.0 3,000.0 Distance from Source Squared [cm^2] y = 1.81E-04e-7.05E-04x R = 9.89E-01

Figure 1: Neutron Flux vs. Squared Distance from Source of SDLB Monte Carlo Simulation
1.00E+00 1.00E-01 1.00E-02 1.00E-03 1.00E-04 1.00E-05 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 Distance from Source [cm]

Log of Neutron Flux

1 eV 60 eV 1 MeV 12 MeV

Figure 2: Log of Neutron Flux vs. Distance from the Source of SDLB Monte Carlo Simulation.

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length

Table 2, Figure 3, and Figure 4 represent the data collected using the SDLA Monte Carlo code. Table 2 shows the neutron flux collected at 5 different distances of neutrons at 4 different energy levels. Figures 3 and 4 are plots using the data in Table 2. Figure 3 is a plot of only the 60 eV neutrons. Table 2. Flux values at different energy values for each tally distance for the SDLA code. Energy (MeV) Flux Values at each Distance (cm^-2 s^-1) 10.5 cm 20.5 cm 30.5 cm 40.5 cm 50.5 cm 1.00E-06 9.54E-05 8.76E-05 6.92E-05 5.53E-05 4.33E-05 6.00E-05 1.85E-04 1.51E-04 9.85E-05 5.08E-05 3.45E-05 1.00E+00 7.57E-03 2.00E-03 8.28E-04 3.53E-04 1.67E-04 1.20E+01 8.52E-02 2.97E-02 1.14E-02 4.72E-03 2.03E-03
2.00E-04 1.80E-04 Neutron Flux [cm^-2 s^-1] 1.60E-04 1.40E-04 1.20E-04 1.00E-04 8.00E-05 6.00E-05 4.00E-05 2.00E-05 0.00E+00 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Distance from Source Squared [cm^2] y = 1.95E-04e-7.19E-04x R = 9.80E-01

Figure 3: Neutron Flux vs. Squared Distance from Source of SDLA Monte Carlo Simulation

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length
1.00E+00 1.00E-01 Log of Neutron Flux 1.00E-02 1.00E-03 1.00E-04 1.00E-05 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Distance from Source [cm]

1 eV 60 eV 1 MeV 12 MeV

Figure 4: Log of Neutron Flux vs. Distance from the Source of SDLA Monte Carlo Simulation Table 3, Figure 5, and Figure 6 represent the data collected using the MATB Monte Carlo code. Table 3 shows the neutron flux collected at 5 different distances of neutrons at 5 different energy levels. This has an additional energy level than the previous codes, and also the data is collected at different distances. Figures 5 and 6 are plots using the data in Table 3. Figure 5 is a plot of only the 60 eV neutrons.

Table 3. Flux values at different energy values for each tally distance for the MATB code. Energy (MeV) Flux Values at each Distance (cm^-2 s^-1) 30.05 40.05 50.05 60.05 70.05 cm cm cm cm cm 1.00E-08 6.29E-05 5.23E-05 4.09E-05 2.70E-05 1.99E-05 1.00E-06 1.09E-03 8.68E-04 6.45E-04 4.55E-04 3.22E-04 6.00E-05 1.36E-04 6.50E-05 2.72E-05 1.48E-05 5.66E-06 1.00E+00 3.38E-04 1.13E-04 4.35E-05 2.01E-05 6.06E-06 1.20E+01 5.99E-05 1.86E-05 4.81E-06 1.70E-06 1.06E-06

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length
1.60E-04 1.40E-04 Neutron Flux [cm^-2 s^-1] 1.20E-04 1.00E-04 8.00E-05 6.00E-05 4.00E-05 2.00E-05 0.00E+00 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 y = 2.35E-04e-7.74E-04x R = 9.87E-01

6000

Distance from Source Squared [cm^2]

Figure 5: Neutron Flux vs. Squared Distance from Source of MATB Monte Carlo Simulation
1.00E+00 1.00E-01 Log of Neutron Flux 1.00E-02 1.00E-03 1.00E-04 1.00E-05 1.00E-06 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Distance from Source [cm] 0.01 eV 1 eV 60 eV 1 MeV 12 MeV

Figure 6: Log of Neutron Flux vs. Distance from the Source of MATB Monte Carlo Simulation Results and Conclusions 1. Table 4 shows the comparison between the different slowing down lengths determined in each experiment conducted to the theoretical values given in the Lamarsh [3] and Duderstadt [4] textbooks. As we can see, the actual experiment completed at the Penn State graphite pile with the cadmium covered BF3 detector and PuBe sources gives much better results than the two simulations. But out of the two simulations, MCNP does a much better job of illustrating the distribution of neutrons and calculating the length in which they travel. This is to be expected

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length

because MCNP can simulate any 3D model and has a wide variety of source and material conditions whereas MATLAB crudely simulates neutron slowing down length with the use of random numbers representing the neutron free flight distance and scattering angles. Table 4. Slowing down lengths and percent errors for each experiment conducted thus far.
Fermi Age [cm^2] Slowing Down Length [cm] Percent Error from Theoretical Theoretical 368 19.18 Lab G1 369.5 19.22 0.104% Lab S1 (MATLAB) 255 15.97 16.74% Lab S2 (MCNP5) 345 18.57 3.18%

2. See data section above for flux versus distance from the source squared and log flux versus distance from the source figures. 3 & 4. The three input decks will be attached in the submission and added in Appendix A. MCNP is a Monte Carlo code that was used to simulate neutron transport in the Penn State graphite pile. A 3D model of the graphite pile was designed in MCNP and five tally marks were placed at different distances from the source to represent different neutron energy levels. The input deck we obtained after running the code recorded the neutron flux at each tally mark for all five tallies. Four different input decks were generated from four different codes; two separate codes with different tally positions and a code simulating source splitting and a code not simulating source splitting. After plotting the neutron flux versus the distance from the source squared, an exponential trend line was fit to the data points. Using the theory in the Experiment 1 lab manual [2], the exponent of the exponential trend line was used to calculate the Fermi Age and the slowing down length. An average of 345 cm2 was determined to be the Fermi Age for the three different trials, resulting in a slowing down length 18.57 cm for this simulation. The results obtained show that MCNP is a great Monte Carlo simulation for neutron transport; the simulation gives result comparable to the actual experiment at the graphite pile. Between the four input decks, SDLA and SDLB had a much closer slowing down length to the theoretical value than MATA and MATB. Also, the slowing down lengths for simulations A and B were relatively equal but because B accounted for source splitting, the error margins were less. From our figures, we see that the neutron flux decreases exponentially the further away you move from the source and that the flux is greater at higher neutron energy levels. These results were expected because it follows the trend of the results obtained from the previous experiments. The assumption of a perfect detector was used to not account for neutrons absorbed by the detector. In later experiments, we will account for this detector absorption and any neutron leakage out of the graphite pile.

NucE 451 Section 3 Group 2 Experiment # 3 MCNP Simulation of Slowing Down Length References

1. Heidrich, B. J., Simulation of the Penn State Graphite Pile using MCNP5: Slowing Down Length. (September 2011) 2. Jester, W. A., Remick, F. J., Brenizer, J. S., Heidrich, B. J., Measurement of Neutron Age and Slowing Down Length in Graphite. (September 2011) 3. Lamarsh, J. R., "Introduction to Nuclear Engineering," Addison-Wesley Publ. Co. 3rd ed. (2001) 4. Duderstadt, J. J., L. J. Hamilton, "Nuclear Reactor Analysis," John Wiley and Sons, (1976). Appendix A