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Influence of Radiations on Materials on the Basis of Fullerene


Research of the Ionizing Radiation Influence on the Fullerene-Based Constructional Materials

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • MAT-ELE/Organic and Electronics Materials/Materials
  • MAT-SYN/Materials Synthesis and Processing/Materials

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Organometallic Chemistry, Russia, Nizhni Novgorod


  • The College of William & Mary, USA, VA, Williamsburg\nChalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Göteborg\nUniversität Bremen / Institut für Organische Chemie, Germany, Bremen\nUniversity of Göteborg, Sweden, Göteborg\nNanoCarbon Research Institute Ltd., Japan, Chiba

Project summary

This project belongs to the applied research category.

Additional neutron shield must be included in packaging set designs for spent fuel and other fissile materials.

Most of container designs by various companies use polymer materials with polyethylene, synthetic rubber, epoxy resins for solid neutron shield, since these materials have high density of hydrogen and other light nuclei thus ensuring minimum thickness of protective layers.

Nearly all scientific research related to design and use neutron shield in packaging sets is focused around the main four groups of materials:

- Neutron-absorbing materials with polyethylene and other polyolefins;
- Neutron-absorbing materials with polyacrylates, polymethylmethacrylate, polyurethanes;
- Neutron-absorbing materials with thermosetting materials;
- Neutron-absorbing materials with elastomers.

Complex composition is a common feature of these materials used for solid neutron shield. As a rule, various disperse materials are added to the base in order to improve some specific properties: protection efficiency, processibility, thermal conductivity, mechanical strength. Boron, B2O3, B4C, Gd2O3, LiF, SiC, Al2O3, SiO2, graphite, amorphous carbon and other materials are now used for this purpose.

Since 1985 a new allotropic form of carbon has been intensely studied (fullerenes and nanotubes) and effects of addition of these forms of carbon on properties of traditional materials and composites. In particular, positive influence of fullerenes on properties of polymers and various polymer-based compositions has been proved.

The goal of this project is to investigate effects of addition of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes on operational characteristics of solid neutron shield exposed to electron, and gamma radiation.

The following initial compositions will be used in this effort:

- Polymethylmethacrylate with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg; copolymers of methylmethacrylate with styrene, butylacrylate, acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, glycidmethacrylate, hydroxyethylmethacrylate, diethylaminoethylmethacrylate, methacrylamide, phenilmathacrylamide, cyclohexyl methacrylamide, fluorine-butylmethacrylamide with the with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg.

- Polystyrene with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg; styrene copolymers with butylacrylate with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg.

- Diphenylpropane-base epoxy resins with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg.

- Polyurethanes with the content of C60, C70 fullerenes and nanotubes of 0-10-2 mol/kg.

Combined effects of traditional fine-disperse fillers and fullerenes and nanotubes on the properties of the above listed materials will be also studied.

RFNC-VNIIEF is one of the leading institutes that investigate electron radiation impacts on various objects. All studies of radiation effects can be implemented with the radiation technology system that was designed in RFNC-VNIIEF. This system is based on LU-10-20 resonance electron accelerator designed for radiation research and commercial technology development, so it has a variety of irradiation regimes.

LU-10-20 accelerator is equipped with a special line to move objects under study through the irradiation zone. The system is located in a building that ensures biological protection for the staff and surrounding communities.

Electron accelerators have a number of advantages compared to ionizing radiation sources of other types. The possibility to vary bean geometry and power in a wide range creates excellent capabilities in term of both technology and safety. This can become a basis for successful project study.

Irradiated materials will be studied by thermal-oxidative destruction, mass spectrometry, electron paramagnetic resonance, combination scattering spectroscopy, X-ray structure and X-ray fluorescent analysis.

Valuable project results will be:

- experimental data on effects of C60, C70 and nanotubes on operational characteristics of polymer-based materials used in transportation containers, in reactor and accelerator engineering (design compositions, glues, coverages);

- experimental data on controlled variation of properties of polymer materials by small additions of ultra-disperse and nano-materials;

- analysis of prospects of using C60, C70 and nanotubes as fillers for polymer materials used in transportation packing containers, reactor and accelerator engineering.

The project study will be carried out by highly skilled specialists who have previously worked under nuclear-weapons program. VNIIEF project researchers have many-years' experience in investigations of properties of materials exposed to ionizing radiation, and designing transportation containers for fissile materials.

IMCh RAS-developed methods of production of fullerenes and polymer+fullerene composites (nanomaterials) as well as methods of physical and chemical property study will be used under the project.

Collaborators from the USA, Japan and Germany will take part in the Project in joint studies, discussion of project results and evaluation of the potential for practical applications of these materials. The project will provide weapons scientists and specialists from RFNC-VNIIEF with an opportunity to redirect their talents to peaceful activities, promote integration of RFNC-VNIIEF scientists into the international scientific community, support basic and applied research and technology development for peaceful purposes, especially in the field of general and reactor science of materials, radiation solid state physics and optics and to shift efforts of scientists and engineers involved in weapons design and production to the solution of global technical problems in the field of production and investigation of new materials.