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Quantifying the reduction in cavitation-induced erosion damage in the Spallation Neutron Source mercury target by means of sm...

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A model developed to represent the progress of erosion damage in liquid-metal spallation target vessels was modified to incorporate the effect of gas injection on the erosion rate. The liquid mercury target system for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory now operates with helium gas injection to reduce target vessel fatigue stress and cavitation-induced erosion damage. Erosion damage is a primary degradation phenomenon affecting the service life of SNS target vessels, and cavitation mitigation techniques, such as small-bubble gas injection, have been implemented to reduce damage and extend target lifetimes. Erosion depths in samples removed from SNS targets after operation were measured using laser line scanning. These measurements confirmed that gas injection reduced erosion damage. However, quantifying the damage reduction due to gas injection was complicated by variations in lifetime, power, and gas injection rates between different targets. In this study, the operating power and gas injection rate of targets were incorporated into an erosion damage prediction model to quantify their effects on erosion damage reduction. Values of a power scaling factor, β, were calculated by comparing modeled with measured erosion damage. These values indicate that the use of gas injection at the SNS reduced damage to a level equivalent to operating targets without gas injection at 35–47% of the actual beam power. To account for the gas injection effect on the cavitation damage, a simple exponential form based on analysis of the scaling factor β was developed to incorporate the gas rate history with a scaling factor γ in the erosion damage modeling.