Proton irradiated graphite grades for a long baseline neutrino facility experiment
AbstractIn search of a low-Z pion production target for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) four graphite grades were irradiated with protons in the energy range of 140–180 MeV, to peak fluence of ∼6.1×1020 p/cm2 and irradiation temperatures between 120–200 °C. The test array included POCO ZXF-5Q, Toyo-Tanso IG 430, Carbone-Lorraine 2020 and SGL R7650 grades of graphite. Irradiation was performed at the Brookhaven Linear Isotope Producer. Postirradiation analyses were performed with the objective of (a) comparing their response under the postulated irradiation conditions to guide a graphite grade selection for use as a pion target and (b) understanding changes in physical and mechanical properties as well as microstructure that occurred as a result of the achieved fluence and in particular at this low-temperature regime where pion graphite targets are expected to operate. A further goal of the postirradiation evaluation was to establish a proton-neutron correlation damage on graphite that will allow for the use of a wealth of available neutron-based damage data in proton-based studies and applications. Macroscopic postirradiation analyses as well as energy dispersive x-ray diffraction of 200 KeV x rays at the NSLS synchrotron of Brookhaven National Laboratory were employed. The macroscopic analyses revealed differences in the physical and strength properties of the four grades with behavior however under proton irradiation that qualitatively agrees with that reported for graphite under neutrons for the same low temperature regime and in particular the increase of thermal expansion, strength and Young’s modulus. The proton fluence level of ∼1020 cm−2 where strength reaches a maximum before it begins to decrease at higher fluences has been identified and it agrees with neutron-induced changes. X-ray diffraction analyses of the proton irradiated graphite revealed for the first time the similarity in microstructural graphite behavior to that under neutron irradiation and the agreement between the fluence threshold of ∼5×1020 cm−2 where the graphite lattice undergoes a dramatic change. The confirmed similarity in behavior and agreement in threshold fluences for proton and neutron irradiation effects on graphite reported for the first time in this study will enable the safe utilization of the wealth of neutron irradiation data on graphite that extends to much higher fluences and different temperature regimes by the proton accelerator community searching for multi-MW graphite targets.