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Laboratory-Scale Development of Lead-Lithium Eutectic Alloy by Magnetohydrodynamic Stirring Technique

A. Mehta, P. Chakraborty, R. K. Fotedar, E. Rajendrakumar

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 65 / Number 2 / March 2014 / Pages 299-307

Technical Paper / dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST13-659

Liquid lead-lithium (Pb-Li) eutectic alloy is one of the promising materials for tritium breeding as well as cooling of fusion reactors. The major issues involved in the production of this eutectic alloy include (a) effective mixing, (b) avoiding the stratification of Pb and Li, (c) minimizing the formation of intermetallic compounds by controlling the temperature, and (d) avoiding the formation of oxides and nitrides of Pb and Li in the cast. In this regard, an attempt has been made to mix lead and lithium using a magnetohydrodynamic stirring technique by the application of a rotating magnetic field. A precalculated amount of liquid lithium has been injected into a circulating lead melt at high pressure and temperature. The mixture has been heated at a controlled temperature and stirred continuously through magnetic induction to produce Pb-Li eutectic. Characterization of the alloy through scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectrometry, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, and density measurement techniques indicates the formation of eutectic composition at the center of the cast, though higher lead concentrations are obtained toward the bottom.

 
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