Structures and Properties of Fluorite Related Systems for Nuclear Applications

Fluorite related systems are of significant interest for nuclear applications due to their unique structural and chemical properties. Fluorite related compounds have a simple cubic structure that is similar to the crystal structure of uranium oxide (UO2), which is used as fuel in nuclear reactors.

This similarity makes fluorite related compounds attractive as potential nuclear fuels or radiation shielding materials. One compound of particular interest is cerium dioxide (CeO2), which has a fluorite type crystal structure and is used as a surrogate for UO2 for many studies.

CeO2 is a promising material for use in thermal barrier coatings in nuclear fuel cladding because of its high melting point, low thermal expansion coefficient, and good thermal conductivity. Another fluorite related system of interest is the zirconium dioxide (ZrO2)-yttria (Y2O3) system, which is used as a fuel and cladding material in pressurized water reactors.

This system has a fluorite type crystal structure when the Y2O3 content is high enough, and this structure contributes to the materials high radiation resistance. In addition to these specific examples, there is ongoing research into other fluorite related systems with the aim of developing new materials for nuclear applications.

These include mixed oxides of actinide and lanthanide elements, which could have applications as nuclear fuels or waste forms. Overall, the structure and properties of fluorite related systems are a fertile area of research for nuclear applications, with the potential to lead to new materials with improved performance and safety.


Laura Zukerman

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