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A Historical Review of Cermet Fuel Development and the Engine Performance ImplicationsThis paper reviews test data for cermet fuel samples developed in the 1960's to better quantify Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) cermet engine performance, and to better understand contemporary fuel testing results. Over 200 cermet (W-UO2) samples were tested by thermally cycling to 2500 deg (2770 K) in hydrogen. The data indicates two issues at high temperatures: the vaporization rate of UO2 and the chemical stability of UO2. The data show that cladding and chemical stabilizers each result in large, order of magnitude improvements in high temperature performance, while other approaches yield smaller, incremental improvements. Data is very limited above 2770 K, and this complicates predictions of engine performance at high Isp. The paper considers how this material performance data translates into engine performance. In particular, the location of maximum temperature within the fuel element and the effect of heat deposition rate are examined.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stewart, Mark E. M. (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
March 13, 2015
Publication Date
February 23, 2015
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Propellants and Fuels
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space 2015(Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 279585.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Ceramic Nuclear Fuel
Nuclear Propulsion

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NameType 20150002852.pdf STI

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IDRelationTitle20150006818See AlsoA Historical Review of Cermet Fuel Development and the Engine Performance Implications