Microstructural modeling of thermal conductivity of high burn-up mixed oxide fuel

Melissa Teague, Michael Tonks, Stephen Novascone, Steven Hayes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Scopus citations


    Predicting the thermal conductivity of oxide fuels as a function of burn-up and temperature is fundamental to the efficient and safe operation of nuclear reactors. However, modeling the thermal conductivity of fuel is greatly complicated by the radially inhomogeneous nature of irradiated fuel in both composition and microstructure. In this work, radially and temperature-dependent models for effective thermal conductivity were developed utilizing optical micrographs of high burn-up mixed oxide fuel. The micrographs were employed to create finite element meshes with the OOF2 software. The meshes were then used to calculate the effective thermal conductivity of the microstructures using the BISON [1] fuel performance code. The new thermal conductivity models were used to calculate thermal profiles at end of life for the fuel pellets. These results were compared to thermal conductivity models from the literature, and comparison between the new finite element-based thermal conductivity model and the Duriez-Lucuta model was favorable.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)161-169
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    Issue number1-3
    StatePublished - 2014

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • General Materials Science
    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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