October 24, 2023

MSE Seminar Series: Understanding the Chemistry of Molten Fluoride Salts and Graphite at High Temperature for Design of Fission and Fusion Nuclear Reactors

Raluca Scarlat, UC Berkeley
2:00pm - 3:00pm


Raluca Scarlat, Associate Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley


Molten halide salts at temperatures from 400 to 800 oC and above are ionic liquids, some of which form strongly associated complex ions with bonding of a semi-covalent nature. They have thermo-physical and thermo-chemical properties that make them of interest as coolants and liquid fuel forms in fusion and fission reactors. This talk will discuss some of the puzzles in the chemical characterization of molten fluoride salts of relevance to design of nuclear reactors – salt-cooled reactors (FHRs), liquid fueled molten salt reactors (MSRs), and tritium breeding blankets in fusion reactors. High temperature surface interactions between molten salt and graphite, an engineering material in fission reactors, will also be discussed, with particular focus on salt-lubricated graphite-on-graphite tribology.


Prof. Raluca O. Scarlat is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, leads the SALT Laboratory at University of California Berkeley, is the recipient of the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Award, and serves on the U.S. DOE Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee. Prof. Scarlat has expertise in chemistry and materials for high temperature advanced nuclear reactors, advanced nuclear reactor design and safety analysis, and engineering ethics.