Ionic Diffusion Model for the Oxidation of Uranium in Dry Air

Monisha Natchiar (The University of Manchester)

ATB Frank Adams 1,

Uranium stored in the nuclear facilities is subjected to corrosion under different conditions (such as dry air and humid air conditions). The corrosion product uranium hydride is pyrophoric (i.e. ignites spontaneously) and hence poses a risk to those working in these nuclear facilities. My work aims to study the kinetics of uranium oxidation under different conditions. There are empirical models available in the literature for the oxidation kinetics of uranium, but only one mathematical model exists so far which models the oxidation kinetics under a quasi-steady state assumption. My work builds on the previously available models to study the unsteady diffusion-driven oxidation in uranium. In addition to the chemical potential gradient that drives the diffusion of oxygen and/or water vapour through the uranium metal, a self-induced electric field provides another driving force for the diffusion process. In this talk, I will discuss the ionic diffusion model for uranium oxidation and my results for the kinetics of uranium oxidation under a dry air environment.

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