Journal: Recent Patents on Nanotechnology
Background: Zirconium alloys have very useful properties for nuclear facilities applications having low absorption cross-section of thermal electrons, high ductility, hardness and corrosion resistance. However, there is also a significant disadvantage: it reacts with water steam and during this (oxidative) reaction it releases hydrogen gas, which partly diffuses into the alloy forming zirconium hydrides. A new strategy for surface protection of zirconium alloys against undesirable oxidation in nuclear reactors by polycrystalline diamond film has been patented- Czech patent 305059: Layer protecting the surface of zirconium alloys used in nuclear reactors and PCT patent: Layer for protecting surface of zirconium alloys (Patent Number: WO2015039636-A1). The zirconium alloy surface was covered by polycrystalline diamond layer grown in plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition apparatus with linear antenna delivery system. Substantial progress in the description and understanding of the polycrystalline diamond/ zirconium alloys interface and material properties under standard and nuclear reactors conditions (irradiation, hot steam oxidation experiments and heating-quenching cycles) was made. In addition, process technology for the deposition of protective polycrystalline diamond films onto the surface of zirconium alloys was optimized.