Space Shielding Materials for Prometheus Application

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At the time of Prometheus program restructuring, shield material and design screening efforts had progressed to the point where a down-selection from approximately eighty-eight materials to a set of five ''primary'' materials was in process. The primary materials were beryllium (Be), boron carbide (B{sub 4}C), tungsten (W), lithium hydride (LiH), and water (H{sub 2}O). The primary materials were judged to be sufficient to design a Prometheus shield--excluding structural and insulating materials, that had not been studied in detail. The foremost preconceptual shield concepts included: (1) a Be/B{sub 4}C/W/LiH shield; (2) a Be/B{sub 4}C/W shield; (3) and a Be/B{sub 4}C/H{sub 2}O ... continued below

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Lewis, R. January 20, 2006.

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Description

At the time of Prometheus program restructuring, shield material and design screening efforts had progressed to the point where a down-selection from approximately eighty-eight materials to a set of five ''primary'' materials was in process. The primary materials were beryllium (Be), boron carbide (B{sub 4}C), tungsten (W), lithium hydride (LiH), and water (H{sub 2}O). The primary materials were judged to be sufficient to design a Prometheus shield--excluding structural and insulating materials, that had not been studied in detail. The foremost preconceptual shield concepts included: (1) a Be/B{sub 4}C/W/LiH shield; (2) a Be/B{sub 4}C/W shield; (3) and a Be/B{sub 4}C/H{sub 2}O shield. Since the shield design and materials studies were still preliminary, alternative materials (e.g., {sup nal}B or {sup 10}B metal) were still being screened, but at a low level of effort. Two competing low mass neutron shielding materials are included in the primary materials due to significant materials uncertainties in both. For LiH, irradiation-induced swelling was the key issue, whereas for H{sub 2}O, containment corrosion without active chemistry control was key, Although detailed design studies are required to accurately estimate the mass of shields based on either hydrogenous material, both are expected to be similar in mass, and lower mass than virtually any alternative. Unlike Be, W, and B{sub 4}C, which are not expected to have restrictive temperature limits, shield temperature limits and design accommodations are likely to be needed for either LiH or H{sub 2}O. The NRPCT focused efforts on understanding swelting of LiH, and observed, from approximately fifty prior irradiation tests, that either casting ar thorough out-gassing should reduce swelling. A potential contributor to LiH swelling appears to be LiOH contamination due to exposure to humid air, that can be eliminated by careful processing. To better understand LiH irradiation performance and mitigate the risks in LiH development for a project with an aggressive schedule like JIMO, some background or advanced development effort for LiH should be considered for future space reactor projects.

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  • Report No.: MDO-723-0049
  • Grant Number: DE-AC12-00SN39357
  • DOI: 10.2172/883693 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 883693
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875778

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • January 20, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Feb. 16, 2017, 6:51 p.m.

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Lewis, R. Space Shielding Materials for Prometheus Application, report, January 20, 2006; Niskayuna, NY. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875778/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.