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A high-pressure flow through test vessel for neutron imaging and neutron diffraction-based strain measurement of geological materials

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Review of Scientific Instruments
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Neutron scattering and neutron imaging have emerged as powerful methods for experimentally investigating material deformation and fluid flow in the interior of otherwise inaccessible or opaque structures. This paper describes the design and provides example uses of a pressure cell developed for investigating such behaviors within geological materials. The cell can accommodate cylindrical samples with diameters up to 38.1 mm and lengths up to 154 mm. Ports in the cell and a pressure isolating sleeve around the sample allow the independent application of confining pressure up to 69 MPa and axial pressure up to 34.5 MPa. Two material versions of the cell have been manufactured and used to date. An aluminum version is typically used for temperatures below 40 °C, because of its relative transparency to neutrons, while a titanium version, which is comparatively more neutron attenuating, is used for experiments requiring triaxial pressurization at conditions up to 350 °C. The pressure cells were commissioned at the Vulcan engineering diffractometer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and have since been used at the ORNL High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) CG1-D imaging beamline, National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) BT-2, and NIST NG6 imaging beamlines.