Preliminary design of high temperature ultrasonic transducers for liquid sodium environments


Advanced reactor concepts include fast reactors (including sodium-cooled fast reactors), gas-cooled reactors, and molten-salt reactors. Common to these concepts is a higher operating temperature (when compared to light-water-cooled reactors), and the proposed use of new alloys with which there is limited operational experience. Concerns about new degradation mechanisms, such as high-temperature creep and creep fatigue, that are not encountered in the light-water fleet and longer operating cycles between refueling intervals indicate the need for condition monitoring technology. Specific needs in this context include periodic in-service inspection technology for the detection and sizing of cracking, as well as technologies for continuous monitoring of components using in situ probes. This paper will discuss research on the development and evaluation of high temperature (>550°C; >1022°F) ultrasonic probes that can be used for continuous monitoring of components. The focus of this work is on probes that are compatible with a liquid sodium-cooled reactor environment, where the core outlet temperatures can reach 550°C (1022°F). Modeling to assess sensitivity of various sensor configurations and experimental evaluation have pointed to a preferred design and concept of operations for these probes. This paper will describe these studies and ongoing work to fabricate and fully evaluate survivability and sensor performance over extended periods at operational temperatures

2017 Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation