Measuring fluid phase change in capillary tubes using neutron radiography

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Gilbert, Andrew James

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Neutron radiography is well suited to non-invasive imaging of water within metal containers. The goal of this work is to determine if neutron radiography can be used to image water freezing within a 1.6mm diameter capillary tube with the ultimate goal of observing this phenomena within fuel cells. In this work, radiography was completed at the Thermal Neutron Imaging Facility in the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab at The University of Texas at Austin. The source of neutrons was a TRIGA Mark II nuclear research reactor capable of 1.1 MW steady state power, which creates a neutron flux at the neutron imaging plane in beam port 5 of 5×10^6 neutrons/cm^2s. A scintillation screen and CCD camera are utilized to obtain digital radiographs, in which differences in pixel intensity are related to differences in neutron attenuation. An image processing algorithm was developed in Matlab to extract necessary data from each image, analyze water column images, and compare one to another. Also, a neutron flux model was implemented in Matlab in order to understand how a non-unidirectional neutron flux will affect final results. Raw image intensities of the water column in liquid and solid form were found to differ from expectations by at most 12.0% and 13.3%, respectively from the predictions of the Matlab flux model. A difference in pixel intensity comparing liquid water to solid water data is apparent and quantified. A ratio of pixel intensity for the ice image to the water image at full thickness of the water column is expected to be 1.038. Experimental results find a maximum ratio of 1.027, 1.1% off from expectations.



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