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Corrosion Studies in Support of Medium-Power Lead-Alloy-Cooled Reactor

Eric P. Loewen, Ronald G. Ballinger, Jeongyoun Lim

Nuclear Technology / Volume 147 / Number 3 / September 2004 / Pages 436-456

Technical Paper / Medium-Power Lead-Alloy Reactors /

The performance of structural materials in lead or lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) systems is evaluated. The materials evaluated included refractory metals (W, Mo, and Ta), several U.S. steels [austenitic steel (316L), carbon steels (F-22, Fe-Si), ferritic/martensitic steels (HT-9 and 410)], and several experimental Fe-Si-Cr alloys that were expected to demonstrate corrosion resistance. The materials were exposed in either an LBE rotating electrode or a dynamic corrosion cell for periods from 100 to 1000 h at temperatures of 400, 500, 600, and 700°C, depending on material and exposure location. Weight change and optical scanning electron microscopy or X-ray analysis of the specimen were used to characterize oxide film thickness, corrosion depth, microstructure, and composition changes. The results of corrosion tests validate the excellent resistance of refractory metals (W, Ta, and Mo) to LBE corrosion. The tests conducted with stainless steels (410, 316L, and HT-9) produced mass transfer of elements (e.g., Ni and Cr) into the LBE, resulting in degradation of the material. With Fe-Si alloys a Si-rich layer (as SiO2) is formed on the surface during exposure to LBE from the selective dissolution of Fe.

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