Textures in Uranium-10wt% Molybdenum Alloy Nuclear Fuels

Primary author: Benjamin Schuessler
Faculty sponsor: David P. Field

Primary college/unit: Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Campus: Pullman


Uranium – 10wt% Molybdenum (U10Mo) is currently being considered as a next generation nuclear fuel for advanced research reactors. Its usage of low-enriched uranium (LEU) is preferable over the high-enriched (HEU) counterpart as it facilitates the demand to reduce the overall stockpile of HEU materials. However, manufacturing of the U10Mo fuels can be difficult. Varying processing conditions can alter the material in ways that can be detrimental to the overall fuel performance. Studying the effect of manufacturing processes on the microstructure-properties and -performance of the U10Mo is critical to the reliable usage of the fuel for future reactor research. This study focuses on how rolling and annealing of the U10Mo fuel plates affect how the orientations of the crystals inside the material are arranged, otherwise known as crystallographic texture. Mechanical properties can depend on the texture of the material, and by knowing the texture, one can extrapolate how the material will behave under various loading and operating conditions. U10Mo plates were rolled down to various thicknesses and annealed, then characterized using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) to gather crystal orientation information. After rolling, the U10Mo exhibit typical rolling textures seen in body-centered cubic metals and after annealing, the U10Mo showed a “randomized” texture. These textures tell a story of how the mechanical properties of the U10Mo evolve throughout the manufacturing process and provide valuable insight into how to adjust the manufacturing procedures to maximize the microstructure-properties and -performance of the fuel.