Nuclear graphite has been used as a moderator material in nuclear reactor designs dating back to the first reactor to reach criticality, Chicago Pile 1, in 1942. In addition, it is anticipated to be used in the conceptual Generation four (GenIV) Molten-salt reactors (MSRs) and the High-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs). The macroscopic dimensional change observed in irradiated nuclear graphite is a property change of significant importance. Largely, volumetric change provides valuable insight into the in-service lifetime of graphite components used in nuclear reactors. The dimensional change behavior varies amongst each grade of nuclear graphite due to processing techniques and the resulting microstructure. In this work, historic data for nuclear graphite H-451 is revisited. A semi-empirical methodology is proposed to describe the dimensional change behavior as a function of temperature for nuclear graphite H-451. The turnaround dose, or when there is a reversal of the dimensional change from contraction to expansion, is proposed to be a thermally activated process and thus can be described by an Arrhenius model. On the atomic scale, H-451 is sp2-bonded carbon atoms with some degree of disorder regardless of orientation. Towards that end, the activation energy is assumed to be a constant irrespective of orientation.

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