An open issue for the fusion power reactor is the choice of breeding blanket material. The possible use of Helium-Cooled Pebble Breeder ceramic material in the form of pebble beds is of great interest worldwide as demonstrated by the numerous studies and research on this subject. Lithium orthosilicate (Li4
) is a promising breeding material investigated in this present study because the neutron capture of Li-6 allows the production of tritium, 6Li (n, t) 4He. Furthermore, lithium orthosilicate has the advantages of low activation characteristics, low thermal expansion coefficient, high thermal conductivity, high density and stability. Even if they are far from the industrial standard, a variety of industrial processes have been proposed for making orthosilicate pebbles with diameters of 0.1–1 mm. However, some manufacturing problems have been observed, such as in the chemical stability (agglomeration phenomena). The aim of this study is to provide a new methodology for the production of pebbles based on the drip casting method, which was jointly developed by the DICI-University of Pisa and Industrie Bitossi. Using this new (and alternative) manufacturing technology, in the field of fusion reactors, appropriately sized ceramic pebbles could be produced for use as tritium breeders.
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