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The Effect of 3He on Low Pressure Hydride Absorption Measurements with Tritium

G. C. Staack, J. E. Klein

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 60 / Number 4 / November 2011 / Pages 1479-1482

Interaction with Materials / Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Tritium Science and Technology (Part 2) /

Absorption isotherm data exists for a wide variety of hydrogen-metal systems. When working with high purity gases, appropriately sized equipment, and hydrides with equilibrium pressures above several hundred Pa, data collection is relatively straightforward. Special consideration must be given to experiments involving low equilibrium pressure hydrides, as even sub-ppm levels of gas impurities can generate partial pressures many times greater than the equilibrium pressures to be measured. Tritium absorption experiments are further complicated by the continuous generation of helium-3. The time required to transfer and absorb a known quantity of tritium onto a sample ultimately limits the minimum pressure range that can be studied using the standard technique. Equations are presented which show the pressure of helium-3 in a sample cell based on the amount of tritium to be absorbed, the sample cell volume and temperature, and the decay time of tritium. Sample calculations for zirconium show that at 300°C, the estimated helium-3 pressure in the cell will be equal to the hydrogen absorption pressure after only milliseconds of tritium decay. An alternate method is presented that permits the collection of equilibrium data at pressures orders of magnitude lower than possible using a direct approach.

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