Working with the CDRAM, I am participating in a three-year research project funded by the Department of Energy with the ultimate goal being to increase the thermal-conductivity of Uranium Dioxide by doping with carbon nanotubes.

I began by completing a six-week radiation safety course in order to be qualified to handle radioactive materials in a lab setting.

Uranium Dioxide powder was ball-milled to the desired particle size distribution prior to processing. I processed both doped and un-doped samples using spark plasma sintering. Grain size was measured with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), mechanical properties were measured with Static Vickers Hardness Testing, and thermal conductivity was measured using time-domain thermoreflectance.

SEM micrograph on fine grain UO2


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