In-Situ High Temperature Hydrogen Permeation Probe Development

People involved in the project

When metals or metal alloys are exposed to hydrogen protons, the hydrogen diffuses into the metal alloy, weakening it and making it susceptible to cracking and fracture. Hydrogen corrosion possess a potentially life limiting factor to the various metal alloys present in Light Water Nuclear Reactors (LWR). Strong economic and safety incentives motivate the research into understanding and predicting hydrogen permeation in high temperature and high pressure environments, like those in LWRs. For instance, uniform corrosion of zirconium alloy fuel cladding and the associated hydrogen pickup is a potential life-limiting degradation mechanism for nuclear fuel cladding in existing and advanced LWRs, costing time and money to replace. The current research is in designing a working hydrogen permeation cell capable of withstanding high temperatures (90°C) that can collect data to calculate hydrogen flux through a working sample.

Hydride-induced cracking in nuclear fuel cladding
Hydride-induced cracking in nuclear fuel cladding [Courtesy of M. Billone, Argonne National Laboratory]
This cell will also serve as a cornerstone to the future development of an in-situ hydrogen permeation probe for in-reactor instrumentation. The current cell is modified Devanathan cell with working, counter, and reference electrodes. The sample is the working cell and the alloy of interest. The reference electrode is a platinum plated rod, which is inert and allow hydrogen to adhere to it, creating a hydrogen electrode. The counter electrode is a carbon rod, which a potential will be applied to favor hydrogen evolution on one side of the cell. The current density measured from the counter electrodes will be used to calculate the hydrogen flux.

Hydrogen Permeation Cell
Hydrogen Permeation Cell

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