Transport of Methane Pellets for Advanced Cold Moderators

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-03ER83634
Agency Tracking Number: 73071S03-I
Amount: $99,125.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
450 Bacon Springs Lane, Clinton, TN, 37716
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Christopher Foster
 (865) 435-5433
Business Contact
 Christopher Foster
Phone: (865) 435-5433
Research Institution
73071S03-I Existing and planned neutron facilities, such as the Spallation Neutron Source, generate pulses of cold neutrons for materials research. The efficiency of the beam line components, which convert the fast neutrons to a cold neutron beam, determines the usefulness of the facility. Existing solid methane moderators have a high efficiency, but they can¿t be scaled to work on planned high power sources. However, a cold moderator using solid methane pellets should be capable of high power operation, and the technology for producing methane pellets has recently been demonstrated. This project will extend the technology to allow circulation of the pellets into and out of a remote moderator cell. In Phase I, the existing methane pellet machine will be modified to improve the flow characteristics of the pellets, which tend to stick together. The pellets will be sub-cooled to temperatures below 50 K and accumulated in a fluidized bed, capable of rapidly filling a moderator with a charge of pellets. A prototype pellet moderator system will be designed for construction and testing in Phase II. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Compared to a conventional hydrogen moderator, a methane moderator using this cryogenic pellet technology would double the output of cold neutrons. The pellet technology also could be used for improving commercial dry ice pellet blasting machines.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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