Determination of the lead oxide fouling mechanisms in lead bismuth eutectic coolant

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An increased interest in the use of liquid metals for novel energy conversion systems is present today. The Accelerator Driven System (ADS) called MYRRHA under design at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN) is an example of such an innovative system. The use of Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) as a coolant for this reactor implies that an accurate knowledge on the chemical properties of the coolant needs to be available. An important factor is the risk of coolant oxidation due to oxygen ingress in the system. Although the formation of lead oxide (PbO) is well understood, the deposition mechanism and kinetics are not yet studied. In this work the deposition mechanism of PbO on 316L stainless steel is investigated. The evolution of the dissolved oxygen concentration during thermal cycling of LBE indicates that fouling of isothermal surfaces by PbO can only proceed by particle deposition. On the other hand, the fouling of non-isothermal surfaces by PbO is dominated by crystallization fouling. A real-time measurement of the PbO deposition rate shows an asymptotic behavior of PbO crystallization fouling. By predicting the onset of PbO nucleation and subsequent growth, a kinetic model for the crystallization fouling is put forward. Quantitative agreement between deposition rate predictions and validation measurements is obtained around 673 K


Original languageEnglish
Article number110382
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019


  • Crystallization fouling, Deposition, Nucleation, Lead-bismuth eutectic, Lead oxide, Accelerator Driven System

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