Volume 16 (2018) Issue 5 Pages 191-209
Neutron radiation-induced volumetric expansion (RIVE) of concrete aggregate is recognized as a major degradation mechanism causing extensive damage to concrete constituents (Hilsdorf et al. 1978; Seeberger and Hilsdorf 1982; Field et al. 2015). Nearly 400 RIVE data obtained in test-reactors on varied rock-forming minerals were collected by Denisov et al. (2012). These data were input into the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) irradiated minerals, aggregates and concrete (IMAC) database and were reanalyzed in order to develop a general empirical model for minerals RIVE and interpret the susceptibility of silicates toward expansion. The empirical models best regression coefficient (r2 ≈ 0.95) is obtained by combining two different modeling techniques: (1) an interpolation-like model based on the relative distance to existing data points, and, (2) a nonlinear regression model assuming varied mathematical forms to describe RIVE as a function of the neutron fluence3 and the average irradiation temperature. The susceptibility to develop irradiation-induced expansion greatly varies with the nature of minerals. Silicates, i.e., [SiO4]4– bearing minerals show a wide range of maximum RIVEs, from a few percents to what appears as a bounding value of 17.8% for quartz. The maximum RIVE of varied silicates appears to be governed, macroscopically, by three parameters: (1) Primarily, the dimensionality of silicate polymerization (DOSP), (2) the relative number of Si–O bond per unit cell, and, (3) the relative bonding energy (RBE) of the unit cell.