Development of a fully automated rapid irradiated sample transport system for neutron activation analysis

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Copple, Blake Robert

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The need for trace, minor and main element analysis becomes more prevalent each year with an every expanding variety of applications. Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) is an attractive non-destructive analysis tool that can be utilized on small samples regardless of what physical state the material is in. The analysis process however, typically requires researchers to physically handle a radioactive sample in order to transport the sample to detection systems for data gathering. The purpose of this project was to design a Fully Automated Rapid Irradiated Sample Transit (FARIST) system that could deliver samples into a reactor core and then transfer them to a detector for analysis with zero human interaction. The system would be designed to hold up to 30 samples prior to analysis with the irradiation, decay, and counting times programmed in initially so that once analysis was initiated, no user interaction was required for the next 29 samples. The last requirement of the system was that it supports cyclic NAA. This work discusses the science and history behind NAA as well as the design, construction, installation, and testing of the new FARIST system.



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