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Compaction de microsphères poreuses d'oxyde de lanthanides : approche expérimentale et simulations numériques

Abstract : One option envisioned for the future management of high level nuclear waste is the transmutation of minor actinides into short-lived fission products in sodium fast reactor. This route requires the development of pellet fabrication processes to prepare Minor Actinide Bearing Blanket (MABB) for the transmutation of americium.Currently, those ceramic pellets are produced by powder metallurgy processes involving numerous grinding and milling steps that generate very fine and highly contaminating and irradiating particles. A viable option for reducing the amount of those fine particles would be to develop a dustless process by working on much coarser particles. In this context, this study is concerned with the pelletization of porous and spherical lanthanides oxide precursors (surrogates of actinides). The present work uses both experimental data and numerical simulations to optimize the pelletization step. The final aim is to obtain, after sintering, homogeneous, dense and undistorted ceramic pellets.Firstly, this study concerns the synthesis and characterisation of these oxide microspheres precursors by the Weak Acid Resin process, which consists in loading beads of ion exchange resin with lanthanides cations and mineralizing the metal loaded resin leads into sub-millimetric-sized oxide microspheres. Comprehensive characterisations of the microstructure and mechanical properties of oxide microspheres have been carried out to better understand their behaviour into the matrix when producing pellets.Secondly, the mechanical properties of a single microsphere were investigated in order to better understand its behaviour during compaction steps. They were also analysed using multi-scale simulations based on the Discrete Element Method (DEM), which is well suited for such particulate materials. In a second approach, compaction studies were carried out in a three parts die to characterize the mechanical behaviour under pressure of a large number of oxide precursors. The behaviour of several microspheres in the matrix was finally simulated using DEM in order to describe interactions between microspheres and to have a better understanding of their evolution during pressing.
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Paul Parant. Compaction de microsphères poreuses d'oxyde de lanthanides : approche expérimentale et simulations numériques. Matériaux. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAI086⟩. ⟨tel-01689835⟩

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