Thermodynamic oxidation aspects of metallic impurities and steel surfaces in heavy liquid metal melts
Alternative approach to the analysis of the process of oxidation of metallic impurities and steel surfaces in heavy liquid metal (lead, lead-bismuth) melts is presented. Development of models of the interaction of impurities with the main components of heavy liquid metal melts and with each other as well as the model for simulation of oxidation of structural steels by oxygen dissolved in the melt is a vitally important task solution of which will allow performing the justifiable selection of optimal operating conditions for structural steels in nuclear power plants operated with heavy liquid metal coolants.
It is demonstrated in the present paper that composition and stability of iron-based oxide system in heavy liquid metal melts are determined by the temperature and partial pressure of oxygen in the ambient environment. When any of these parameters changes the oxide phase the composition changes with increasing or decreasing oxygen concentration.
It was suggested to examine transfer of components of steel through the oxide film as the physical model of oxidation of steel, i.e. as the movement of cations forced by electric field the strength of which corresponds to the difference between the electrochemical potentials of the oxide systems under study. In this case the steel matrix acts as the anode, the oxide film is a solid electrolyte, and the moving coolant containing oxygen acts as the cathode. Such analysis allows binding the transition from external conditions of oxidation of steels to internal conditions within the whole comprehensive picture.
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