Developing modern graphite exponential pile experiments to augment reactor physics education
Author(s)Gale, Micah D. (Micah David)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
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Reactor Physics is not always an intuitive subject for students to understand. When nuclear engineering was beginning as a field it was common for students to complete measurements on sub-critical reactors, which could not sustain a fission chain reaction, in order to develop student intuition. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has one such reactor, a graphite exponential pile, which went unused for decades. In this thesis the MIT Graphite Exponential Pile was returned to experimental operation, and a prototypic student experiment was completed. The material buckling was found by indium foil activations completed with a plutonium-beryllium source in the pile. From the experimental results it was calculated the pile would have to be a cube with sides that are 5.42m long to become a critical reactor. This proof of concept experiment makes it possible for mens et manus based education at MIT for reactor physics.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2018.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-40).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.