Experimental and Computational Investigation of Uranium Particle Formation and Dynamic Behavior
Improved understanding of formation of small uranium particles is essential to environmental sampling, emission mitigation, nuclear forensics, and a wide range of NNSA’s missions. Prior research works helped characterize the physical and chemical properties of the complex uranium-bearing particles, but the mechanisms as to how the small particles were produced, how they behave in the air and what their eventual fate once released remains unclear. This proposed project will apply modern aerosol science and technology to investigate the formation of the uranium-bearing particles in fuel manufacturing and reprocessing. An extensive array of extractive measurements and in-situ remote optical sensing will be applied to probe the formation process of uranium particles. Real-time IR, small angle neutron and X-Ray scattering will also be used to generate fundamental data for interpreting and modeling the initial production of nascent small particles and their structures. A general aerosol dynamics model will be developed to predict the particle life cycle and calibrated with the experimental data to be obtained in this proposed project in addition to data available from the literature. Observational techniques and methods developed in this project can be used to enhance future measurement and sampling of particulate species.