Carbon nanotubes protect the metal from the effects of radiation

Radiation is ruining metal

As it turned out, radiation is harmful not only for living organisms. Scientists have found that the long-term exposure to radiation of metals makes them brittle, porous, which ultimately leads to their destruction. This problem is especially relevant for nuclear reactors, where safety is one of the main indicators of their work.

An international team of researchers based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that adding a small amount of carbon nanotubes to the metal gives it resistance to radiation.

The problem is that radioactive particles contribute to the transmutation and splitting of metal atoms. As a result, miniature bubbles of helium are formed in the places of bends of metal parts. Just as nitrogen bubbles appear in the blood of a diver with a rapid ascent to the surface, so also helium bubbles accumulate along the boundaries of crystalline grains. In both cases, negative consequences occur.

How do carbon nanotubes

Scientists have found that the addition of carbon nanotubes to the metal with a content of about 2% of its total volume gives the metal greater resistance to radiation. If the nanotubes are evenly distributed, they form the so-called “one-dimensional straining transport network”. Once in it, the helium bubbles go out without hindrance, without destroying the metal.

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