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Drop Impact on a Vibrated, Heated Surface: Towards a Potential New Way of Elaborating Nuclear Fuel from Gel Microspheres

Authors: Méryl Brothier, Dominique Moulinier, Christophe Bertaux


The gel-supported precipitation (GSP) process can be used to make spherical particles (spherules) of nuclear fuel, particularly for very high temperature reactors (VHTR) and even for implementing the process called SPHEREPAC. In these different cases, the main characteristics are the sphericity of the particles to be manufactured and the control over their grain size. Nonetheless, depending on the specifications defined for these spherical particles, the GSP process has intrinsic limits, particularly when fabricating very small particles. This paper describes the use of secondary fragmentation (water, water/PVA and uranyl nitrate) on solid surfaces under varying temperature and vibration conditions to assess the relevance of using this new technique to manufacture very small spherical particles by means of a modified GSP process. The fragmentation mechanisms are monitored and analysed, before the trends for its subsequent optimised application are described.

Keywords: Microsphere elaboration, nuclear fuel, droplet impact , gel-supported precipitation process.

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