Density of plutonium metal as a function of age

Mulford, R. N.; Valdez, M.
July 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 532 Issue 1, p416
Academic Journal
Densities of a large number of samples old plutonium metal are being measured, to determine the magnitude of density changes as a function of metal age. Radioactive decay produces helium within the metal lattice structure. Simultaneously, radioactive decay disrupts the metal lattice, producing dislocations and vacancies, which may or may not be occupied by the helium produced. The net effect of the conjunction of these effects is a decrease in the bulk density of the metal with time. This phenomenon has been seen in other metals,[1] and exhibits an induction time which depends on the metal and on the rate of helium ingrowth. The immediate purpose of the measurements is to determine the induction time for Pu metal, and the magnitude of the density change to be expected in the metal with age. The functional form of these trends may, by analogy with other metals,[1,2] illuminate the phenomena described above. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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