Development of nuclear quality components using metal additive manufacturing

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$150K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Radiabeam Technologies, LLC
1713 Stewart Street Array
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Texas at El Paso
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Abstract

A major problem with nuclear fission reactors is the welding of components of dissimilar metals, where the filler is usually of an additional metal alloy that is not necessarily the same as the two parts to be joined. Welding of metals will often have a heat affected zone (HAZ) and a thermo- mechanically affected zone (TMAZ), which need to be post-weld heat treated to minimize precipitation or segregation. Electron beam-based additive manufacturing, because of its low heat input and faster cooling rate could minimize this problem. Electron beam-based additive manufacturing may realize mechanical, thermal, and radiation- management optimized materials and geometries without the usual complexity and expense of current fabrication techniques. RadiaBeam Systems in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) proposes to demonstrate fabrication and joining of high quality nuclear steel components via electron beam melting (EBM) additive manufacturing (AM). Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Upon development the EBM process of manufacturing nuclear quality components can be licensed to large volume manufacturers, for fabrication of small modular reactors (SMRs) components as well as other high-temperature energy conversion and combustion systems. The method would offer a significant improvement to the cost of production and energy consumption compared with conventional joining-fabrication processes.