A literature review of nanoparticle addition to concrete for nuclear applications
Concrete dry casks are currently the primary storage solution for spent nuclear fuel in the United States. These above-ground storage chambers may be used for a century or more, and are subject to degradation by environmental weathering, elevated temperatures, and gamma radiation. Premature cracking has been observed in a number of these casks. This dissertation examined the use of nanoparticles to enhance the durability of concrete used in nuclear storage. It has been previously observed that nanoparticles increase the strength and modulus of elasticity, and decrease the diffusivity and permeability of cement paste, mortar, and concrete, due to the unique reactivity of the nanoparticles, which is related to their small size and large specific surface area. This dissertation consisted of a literature review of the effects of nanoparticles, most notably SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3, TiO2, CaCO3, and clay, on the microstructure, mass transfer, and bulk mechanical properties of cement paste and concrete-equivalent mortar in a baseline (i.e., non-exposed) condition, and in exposure conditions relevant for dry cask nuclear storage: leaching, sulfate attack, elevated temperatures, and gamma radiation.