Alginated zirconium diboride kernels with sputter-deposited tungsten coatings

Phylis Makurunje1

Iuliia Ipatova2 and Simon Middleburgh1

1 Nuclear Futures Institute, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1UT, United Kingdom
2 School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, Elms Road, Birmingham B15 2SE, United Kingdom


ZrB2 microspheres were prepared by an alginate-based sol-gel technique for neutron absorbing and thermal conductivity enhancing applications in urania fuels. The sintering of ZrB2 at 1750°C for 4 h revealed the sintering mechanism which informed densification optimisation. A nano-thin tungsten film (⁓300 nm) was deposited by direct current magnetron sputtering of tungsten in an argon. The microstructure and the W-ZrB2 interface were studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with EDS from FIB-sectioned lamella. The coating cross-section profile was characterised, and it revealed the interaction of the W with ZrB2 related to phase diagrams. Columnar microstructure tungsten coatings present compatible interaction with ZrB2 for nuclear fuel kernels.

Event Timeslots (1)

Thursday – 16th September 2021
Phylis Makurunje