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Approach to using 3D laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) data to explore the interaction of FLiNaK and FLiBe molten s...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1629 to 1641

Nuclear graphite has historically been a key component of many nuclear reactor designs and has emerged as key to numerous advanced nuclear reactor design concepts. Molten salt reactors (MSRs) are one broad group of advanced reactor designs currently being pursued by industry for commercialization. Several MSR designs under consideration use graphitic materials that directly interface with a molten salt, whether it is a fuel salt, coolant salt, or both. Therefore, the interaction of graphite materials with molten salts must be understood. To gain this required understanding, a range of data is needed including porosity, strength, and composition as a function of different salt exposure parameters. A laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurement and data analysis methodology was developed to obtain spatially resolved elemental composition information for graphite samples exposed to a molten fluoride salt. Traditional univariate emission line analysis of atomic, ionic, and molecular optical emission signals was coupled via correlation analysis with spectral decomposition of the data using principal component analysis. Elemental depth profiling and elemental mapping were also performed to visualize salt–graphite interactions. LIBS was demonstrated to be useful for measuring key analytes such as fluorine and hydrogen, which are troublesome for other analysis techniques. Evidence for complex behavior was found, thereby demonstrating the usefulness of the developed approach for future systematic studies.