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By the mid-2020s, the Sample Preparation Laboratory (SPL) will provide​ for the needs of a growing nuclear energy research community. The facility siting of SPL supports effective integration with other critical post-irradiation examination facilities located at the Materials and Fuels Complex, such as the Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory, the Hot Fuel Examination Facility, and the Analytical Laboratory.


Basic Capabilities:

SPL will provide instrumentation and capability not currently available for analysis of irradiated materials, including many for understanding material-aging issues, improving materials for use in advanced nuclear energy systems.

  • Load frame and charpy testing machines, each with an environmental chamber to simulate a wide range of environments from cryogenic to high temperature

  • Micro- and nanohardness testers to determine material properties such as modulus of elasticity, hardness, yield strength and fracture toughness in a very small area of sample

  • Scanning electron microscopy for fracture surface analysis, a critical component of materials research

  • Surface science instruments such as secondary ion mass spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy for chemical characterization of oxide films and fracture surfaces

  • X-ray diffraction for determination of crystal structure of phases and the phase array in a material, residual stress measurement, and texture measurement to evaluate the evolution of these traits during irradiation

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