Chemochromic Pd-V2O5 Sensors for Passive Hydrogen Detection in Nuclear Containments

Conference item


O'Hara, R, Holborn, PG, Ingram, JM, Ball, J, Rathbone, P and Edge, R (2018). Chemochromic Pd-V2O5 Sensors for Passive Hydrogen Detection in Nuclear Containments. 2018 WM Symposia, Nuclear and Industrial Robotics, Remote Systems and Other Emerging Technologies. Phoenix, Arizona, USA 18 - 22 Mar 2018 London South Bank University.
AuthorsO'Hara, R, Holborn, PG, Ingram, JM, Ball, J, Rathbone, P and Edge, R
Abstract

The ability to detect and monitor hydrogen gas efficiently in process and storage facilities, handling nuclear material, is crucial to ensuring their safety. The accumulation of hydrogen gas, above the lower flammable limit (LFL), in a nuclear waste containment is a concern since it creates the potential for a hydrogen-air explosion to occur, which could lead to a loss of containment and result in the uncontrolled release of radioactive material into the surrounding environment. The events that took place at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant highlighted the vulnerability of conventional hydrogen detection to extreme events, where power may be lost. In the present work, chemochromic hydrogen sensors have been fabricated, using transition metal oxide thin films, to provide eye-readable detection systems that would be resilient to plant power failure. Vanadium oxide (V2O5) films were prepared on quartz glass substrates by sol-gel deposition and sensitized with a palladium (Pd) catalyst, deposited by electron beam evaporation. When exposed to hydrogen, the Pd catalyst dissociates H2 to H atoms, which diffuse into the V(V)2O5 forming a hydrogen-vanadium metal bronze, H2V(III)2O5, resulting in a noticeable colour change from orange to dark green. To assess their viability for nuclear safety applications, these sensors have been irradiated to total doses between 5 and 250 kGy using a Co-60 gamma isotope irradiator. The results suggest that gamma irradiation, at the levels examined, has an effect on the initial colour of the V2O5 and Pd-V2O5 thin films with decreased transmittance above 540 nm. The orange starting colour darkened and developed a green tone, with the degree of colour change depending on the applied total dose. Changes in surface morphology and characteristics have been examined by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy. High level (250 kGy) gamma radiation exposure begins to produce surface degradation on V2O5 thin films; however this behaviour is not observed for films that are also coated with palladium. Chemochromic properties of both un-irradiated and irradiated Pd-V2O5 thin films were determined by examining their optical transmittance, using UV-vis spectroscopy, under exposure to a 4% H2-N2 gas mixture. Exposure to gamma radiation has been found to have negligible effect upon colour change behaviour after 30 minutes exposure to hydrogen gas. The results suggest that the thin film V2O5 sensitised with Pd is a plausible technique for application in the monitoring of hydrogen gas in low-level gamma radiation environments.

Keywordshydrogen safety; Nuclear waste; hydrogen sensor; chemochromic coatings
Year2018
PublisherLondon South Bank University
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
Publication dates
Print18 Mar 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Mar 2018
Accepted05 Jan 2018
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/86v9y

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