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Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working with University of Washington researchers in an effort to study the structure of porous crystalline silicon carbide (SiC). SiC has many scientific and industrial uses. It is especially important to the nuclear industry because of its relatively inert matrix, high temperature capabilities, ideal topological arrangement and corrosion resistance. The nuclear industry uses SiC to make nuclear fuel pellets, to build reactor containment walls, and to store inert gas fission products making use of its pore structure. The University of Washington group prepared the porous samples with controlled pore morphology by foaming a polycarbosilane polymer followed by conversion to SiC. The thermal diffusivity of the porous SiC is being studied as an effect of pore morphology and increasing crystallinity. Imaging the porous sample with the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory’s X-ray computed tomography instrument to create 3-D images of the porous sample, and learn about its pore volume and pore size distribution was part of this research effort. The project has significant potential industrial impact as the results provide clues as to how pore size and morphology--properties directly related to material performance--can be controlled by synthesis.

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Document Title: 'The end of the tunnel is there!' Traveling inside a porous silicon carbide sample.
Category: Science as Art
Media Type: Photos
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URL of this page: http://picturethis.pnl.gov/picturet.nsf/by+id/DRAE-9N8TV4

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