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Preliminary Study on the Fabrication of Particulate Fuel through Pressureless Sintering Process
U-10wt%Zr spherical particles for use as particulate fuel were prepared by centrifugal atomization and subjected to pressureless sintering, which is one of the simplest powder processing techniques. At sintering temperature of 1100°C for 30 or 60 min, all samples ranging from +50 to −325 mesh showed no apparent bonding between the particles. However, at 1150°C (80 min), all samples formed a bulk body and the microstructures showed apparent sintering stages. Particularly, sample B (50-70 mesh) and sample C (70-100 mesh) showed pore characteristics suitable for a particulate fuel. The results suggest that pressureless sinterability for U-10Zr particulate fuel can be improved by adding small-size (-325 mesh) particles.
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