Radiation to electricity

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  • #26
Astronuc
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As are most (all?) metals, forming a surface coat of oxide. I doubt some surface oxygen has much effect on reactivity.
Metals do form oxide layers, and in many cases, e.g., with stainless steels, the layer is protective. However, some metals form friable oxides, which do not offer much protection, and instead, the oxidation process is unstable. In some cases, in the presence of water or steam, the underlying metal absorbs hydrogen and that enhances the oxidation. Uranium metal was usually clad in aluminum or zirconium alloys.

Update: Looking in my 1964 text, there is a sentence containing "uranium oxide (U3O8)", so it would appear that oxide refers to the higher oxide rather than UO2. I was at a seminar recently, and some of the discussion was about a particular calciner, which produced uranium oxide (U3O8), which I found surprising. In order to produce UO2, one needs to maintain a reducing environment in the reaction system/calciner.
 
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  • #27
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Also: uranium dioxide happens to be a semiconductor.
Has been proposed for solar cells, including Schottky diodes.
How could a diode including uranium dioxide as a semiconductor convert into electricity sunlight?
Alpha particles?
Fission fragments?
Prompt gammas?
Delayed, fission product betas?
 
  • #28
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GPHS-RTG produces 4400 W thermal - all the time, from 7800 g Pu-238.
Spontaneous alpha radiation whether or not you need it. Nasty stuff when you plan to disperse and eat your reactor.
What's hotter - 8 kg of Pu-238 or 30 kg U-235?
Remember - if what you disperse and eat is a never run reactor, then it is just U-235 (and U-234) - no fission products as yet.
Shouldn't a small fission reactor be much safer than a radioisotope generator?
 
  • #29
mheslep
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Neutrons
 
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by a mechanism that does not depend on buildup of heat.
How about collecting hydrogen from radiolysis in an AHR and feed them into a fuel cell?
 
  • #31
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... diode including uranium dioxide ...
Whatever the method, the basic problem is that the starting point (radiation) is chaotic. This limits the efficiency.

Just a passing thought. Is there any paper somewhere what discusses alpha/beta decay as matter of (laser-like) induced emission?
 

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