Silicon carbide fiber/silicon carbide matrix composites have been specified in several recent fusion power plant design studies because of their high operating temperature (1000-1100 °C) and hence high energy conversion efficiencies. Radiation resistance of the β-phase of SiC, excellent high-temperature fracture, creep, corrosion and thermal shock resistance and safety advantages arising from low induced radioactivity and afterheat are all positive attributes favoring the selection of SiCf/SiC composites. With the promise of these materials comes a number of challenges such as their thermal conductivity, radiation stability, gaseous transmutation rates, hermetic behavior and joining technology. Recent advances have been made in understanding radiation damage in SiC at the fundamental level through MD simulations of displacement cascades. Radiation stability of composites made with the advanced fibers of Nicalon Type S and the UBE Tyranno SA, where no change in strength was observed up to 10 dpa at 800 °C, in the development of materials with improved thermal conductivity, modeling of thermal conductivity, joining techniques and models for life-prediction. High transmutation rates of C and Si to form H, He, Mg, and Al continue to be a concern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering