Diffusion behavior of lanthanide-additive compounds (Ce4Sb3, Ce2Sb, and CeTe) against HT9 and Fe
Antimony and tellurium have been identified as promising additives in metallic fuel, which can immobilize free-lanthanide fission products into stable intermetallic compounds in order to mitigate the fuel-cladding chemical interaction. Ce4Sb3, Ce2Sb, and CeTe are the primary compounds formed by Sb or Te with the lanthanide Ce present in the fuel. If these compounds are present at the outer periphery of the fuel, they will come in contact with and react with the cladding after the fuel swells. The present study investigates the reactivity of these compounds with two cladding materials, HT9 and Fe. The diffusion couple tests between these compounds and HT9 or Fe were conducted at 853 K. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used to analyze the morphology, microstructure, and phase distribution of the diffusion region. It was observed that the diffusion region thickness formed by the three compounds was significantly reduced compared to free Ce. There was no observed diffusion or reaction between Ce4Sb3 or Ce2Sb with either HT9 or Fe. CeTe was found to diffuse and react with HT9, forming Cr3Te4 and TeFe at the diffusion region, as well as to penetrate into Fe, mostly by intergranular diffusion.