Ion-induced graphite radiation damage
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The fast particle radiation damage effect of graphite, a main material in current and future nuclear reactors, has significant influence on the utilization of this material in fission and fusion plants. Atoms on graphite crystals can be easily replaced or dislocated by fast protons and result in interstitials and vacancies. The currently accepted model indicates that after most of the interstitials recombine with vacancies, surviving interstitials form clusters and furthermore gather to create loops with each other between layers. Meanwhile, surviving vacancies and interstitials form dislocation loops on the layers. The growth of these inserted layers cause the dimensional increase, i.e. swelling, of graphite. Interstitial and vacancy dislocation loops have been reported and they can easily been observed by electron microscope. However, observation of the intermediate atom clusters becomes is paramount in helping prove this model. We utilize fast protons generated from the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) cyclotron to irradiate highly-oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) as target for this research. Post-irradiation examination (PIE) of dosed targets with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) has permit observation and analysis of clusters and dislocation loops to support the proposed theory. Another part of the research is to validate M.I. Heggie's Ruck and Tuck model, which introduced graphite layers may fold under fast particle irradiation. Again, we employed microscopy to image irradiated specimens to determine how the extent of Ruck and Tuck by calculating the number of folds as a function of dose.
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