Grain Growth Behavior, Tensile Impact Ductility, and Weldability of Cerium-Doped Iridium Alloys

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An iridium alloy doped with small amounts of cerium and thorium is being developed as a potential replacement for the iridium-based DOP-26 alloy (doped with thorium only) that is currently used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for cladding and post-impact containment of the radioactive fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) heat sources which provide electric power for interplanetary spacecraft. This report summarizes results of studies conducted to date under the Iridium Alloy Characterization and Development subtask of the Radioisotope Power System Materials Production and Technology Program to characterize the properties of the iridium-based alloy (designated as DOP-40) ... continued below

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62 pages

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McKamey, C.G. May 28, 2002.

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An iridium alloy doped with small amounts of cerium and thorium is being developed as a potential replacement for the iridium-based DOP-26 alloy (doped with thorium only) that is currently used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for cladding and post-impact containment of the radioactive fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) heat sources which provide electric power for interplanetary spacecraft. This report summarizes results of studies conducted to date under the Iridium Alloy Characterization and Development subtask of the Radioisotope Power System Materials Production and Technology Program to characterize the properties of the iridium-based alloy (designated as DOP-40) containing both cerium and thorium. Included within this report are data on grain growth of sheet material in vacuum and low-pressure oxygen environments, grain growth in vacuum of the clad vent set cup material, weldability, and the effect of grain size and test temperature on tensile properties. Where applicable, data for the DOP-26 alloy are included for comparison. Both grain size and grain-boundary cohesion affect the ductility of iridium alloys. In this study it was found that cerium and thorium, when added together, refine grain size more effectively than when thorium is added by itself (especially at high temperatures). In addition, the effect of cerium additions on grain-boundary cohesion is similar to that of thorium. Mechanical testing at both low ({approx} 10{sup -3}s{sup -1}) and high ({approx} 10{sup -3}s{sup -1}) strain rates showed that the Ce/Th-doped alloys have tensile ductilities that are as good or better than the DOP-26 alloy. The general conclusion from these studies is that cerium can be used to replace some of the radioactive thorium currently used in DOP-26 while maintaining or improving its metallurgical properties. The current DOP-26 alloy meets all requirements for cladding the radioactive fuel in the RTG heat source, but the new DOP-40 alloy could serve as a back-up alloy to be used if the costs of refining, handling, and transporting DOP-26 become prohibitively high.

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62 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 28 May 2002

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2002/114
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814252 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814252
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc740016

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Creation Date

  • May 28, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 12:51 p.m.

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McKamey, C.G. Grain Growth Behavior, Tensile Impact Ductility, and Weldability of Cerium-Doped Iridium Alloys, report, May 28, 2002; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc740016/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.