Abstract

A study on induction plasma shape forming with ceramic materials, yttria stabilized zirconia ZrO2-Y2O3 (YSZ), was conducted in order to develop a new method for nuclear fuel fabrication. YSZ was selected because of its similar melting point then U02. Nuclear fuel consists of pellets Ø 10mm, thickness 12mm with a density over 96% theoretical density (TD). Process optimization was done with two different approaches: A large induction plasma flame (70mm), high number of pellets simultaneously sprayed (up to 108 pellets) and a medium power (40-50 kW) small supersonic induction plasma flame (10mm) for 1 pellet fabrication at a time. Process optimization was intensively done for the large induction plasma flame using chamber pressure, plasma plate power, powder spraying distance, sheath gas composition, probe position and particle size. The best results were 97.11% TD for 5mm thick pellets and 94% TD with the multi-pellets mold wheel type. For the single pellet approach, density as high as 99% TD has been obtained as measured on 12mm thick free standing pellets.

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