FURI | Spring 2023

Effects of Aluminum Additions on the Plasticity and Fracture Behavior of Zirconium Silicide as a Surrogate for Advanced Nuclear Fuels

Energy icon, disabled. An orange lightning bolt.

Uranium Silicide (U3Si2) offers several advantages over the typical nuclear fuel Uranium Oxide (UO2), but it is too brittle to be used safely. In this study, the effects of dopants on the plasticity and fracture behavior of U3Si2 will be investigated through the surrogate Zr3Si2 based on the hypothesis that the addition of aluminum will lead to increased ductility. Each element will be added in the correct proportion to an arc melting furnace to create the desired alloys. Metallographic samples from these alloys will be analyzed using optical microscopy, electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction, backscattered electron imaging, and Vickers hardness.

Student researcher

Ryan Scott Saunders

Mechanical engineering

Hometown: Vancouver, Washington, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024