Design Issues for Using Magnetic Materials in Radiation Environments at Elevated Temperature.

images[7]One of the challenges of designing motors and alternators for use in nuclear powered space missions is accounting for the effects of radiation. Terrestrial reactor power plants use distance and shielding to minimize radiation damage but space missions must economize volume and mass. Past studies have shown that sufficiently high radiation levels can affect the magnetic response of hard and soft magnetic materials. Theoretical models explaining the radiation-induced degradation have been proposed but not verified. This paper reviews the literature and explains the cumulative effects of temperature, magnetic-load, and radiation-level on the magnetic properties of component materials. Magnetic property degradation is very specific to alloy choice and processing history, since magnetic properties are very much entwined with specific chemistry and microstructural features. However, there is basic theoretical as well as supportive experimental evidence that the negative impact to magnetic properties will be minimal if the bulk temperature of the material is less than fifty percent of the Curie temperature, the radiation flux is low, and the demagnetization field is small.
Personal Author: C. L. Bow
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