TOPAZ‐II Materials and Thermionics Research
This paper describes some of the current activities of the TOPAZ‐II International Research Program in the areas of materials science and thermionics. In view of the importance of insulator degradation to the issue of thermionic fuel element (TFE) lifetime, the initial focus of our experimental research has been in the area of cesium‐sapphire interactions. Surface interactions of Cs with insulators are of primary importance in causing breakdown and arcing. An experimental facility is described which allows the study of insulator surface electrical conduction in Cs environments typical of the TOPAZ‐II TFE. Some initial experiments regarding the charge state of Cs embedded in a sapphire matrix are described. It is concluded that, at temperatures relevant to TFE applications, Cs is singly ionized in this environment.
- Insulator surfaces
- Fuel elements
- International research programs
- Materials science
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