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Research Papers

Characterization and Optimization of a Tensioned Metastable Fluid Nuclear Particle Sensor Using Laser-Based Profilometry

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexander R. Hagen

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: ahagen@purdue.edu

Thomas F. Grimes

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Brian C. Archambault

Sagamore Adams Laboratory, LLC.,
Chicago, IL 60603

Trevor N. Harris

Lafayette Jefferson High School,
Lafayette, IN 47905

Rusi P. Taleyarkhan

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: rusi@purdue.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 2, 2014; final manuscript received February 13, 2015; published online September 3, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Rosa Maria Montereali.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 1(4), 041004 (Sep 16, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: NERS-14-1045; doi: 10.1115/1.4029918 History: Received October 02, 2014; Accepted February 26, 2015; Online September 03, 2015

State-of-the-art neutron detectors lack capabilities required by the fields of homeland security, health physics, and even for direct in-core nuclear power monitoring. A new system being developed at Purdue’s Metastable Fluid and Advanced Research Laboratory in conjunction with S/A Labs, LLC provides capabilities that the state-of-the-art lacks, and simultaneously with beta (β) and gamma (γ) blindness, high (>90% intrinsic) efficiency for neutron/alpha spectroscopy and directionality, simple detection mechanism, and lowered electronic component dependence. This system, the tensioned metastable fluid detector (TMFD), provides these capabilities despite its vastly reduced cost and complexity compared with equivalent present day systems. Fluids may be placed at pressures lower than perfect vacuum (i.e., negative), resulting in tensioned metastable states. These states may be induced by tensioning fluids just as one would tension solids. The TMFD works by cavitation nucleation of bubbles resulting from energy deposited by charged ions or laser photon pile-up heating of fluid molecules, which are placed under sufficiently tensioned (negative) pressure states of metastability. The charged ions may be created from neutron scattering or from energetic charged particles such as alphas, alpha recoils, and fission fragments. A methodology has been created to profile the pressures in these chambers by laser-induced cavitation (LIC) for verification of a multiphysics simulation of the chambers. The methodology and simulation together have led to large efficiency gains in the current acoustically tensioned metastable fluid detector (ATMFD) system. This paper describes in detail the LIC methodology and provides background on the simulation it validates.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

CTMFD and ATMFD system diagrams: (a) CTMFD system diagram with structural component cutaway; (b) E-ATMFD with component cutaway system diagram; and (c) D-ATMFD with component cutaway system diagram

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Fig. 2

Comparison of experimental and simulated frequency response for temporal metastable state fluid pressure in an E-ATMFD system

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Fig. 3

Laser-induced cavitation in R-113 in CTMFD system (Reproduced from [5])

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Fig. 4

ATMFD lasing setup with variable vertical stage

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Fig. 5

Cavitation detection event positions (uncertainty of image processing algorithm for bubble positioning is within 0.85 mm due to image resolution) with differing laser distance from chamber in an E-ATMFD system

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Fig. 7

Waiting-time curves for differing laser distance in the 23 cm3 CTMFD system (error bars are 1σ)

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Fig. 6

Waiting-time curves for differing laser incidence in the 23 cm3 CTMFD system (error bars are 1σ)

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Fig. 12

Matching pressure profiles in ES-ATMFD with differing glass density (ES-ATMFD, fixed reflector, 25°C, acetone, default values with exceptions—reflector height 89.1 mm, reflector and beaker density as noted)

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Fig. 11

Matching pressure profiles in ES-ATMFD with differing glass-wall thickness (ES-ATMFD, fixed reflector, 25°C, acetone, default values with exceptions—reflector height 89.1 mm, reflector and beaker wall thicknesses as noted)

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Fig. 10

Sensitivity analysis of sound velocity using uncertainty in parameters provided from Ref. [18] in a typical pressure profile of D-ATMFD system

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Fig. 9

E-ATMFD profilometry: (a) Cavitation event locations in E-ATMFD system with laser-induced cavitation at varying heights and (b) cavitation event locations overlaid on a pressure profile simulation in the E-ATMFD system

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Fig. 8

Laser-induced cavitation positions (to within 100 μm [11]) overlaid on a pressure profile simulation in the D-ATMFD system

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