15 March 1998 Elemental characterization using pulsed fast-thermal neutrons
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Abstract
The high penetrating powers of neutrons and of high energy gamma rays are utilized for the non-intrusive, non- destructive elemental characterization of materials. Neutrons produced in microsecond pulses interact with nuclei in the material, leading to the emission of gamma rays that have energies unique to each element. The pulsing of neutrons with a frequency of a few kHz allows the measurement of gamma rays resulting from a variety of neutron induced nuclear reactions. The elemental content of the material is deduced from the analysis of the gamma-ray spectra acquired during the neutron pulse and during the quiescent period between neutron pulses. A large number of elements from hydrogen to uranium can be identified and quantified within a few minutes of interrogation. This method called pulsed fast-thermal neutron analysis (PFTNA), can be used for on-line NDE, as well as for in situ characterization of materials. Devices based on PFTNA can be constructed in a stationary mode for on-line analysis, or in a transportable mode for in situ analysis. Examples on the utilization of the method include on-line coal analysis, on- line quality control in cement plans, measurement of oxidation of opaque metallic structures.
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George Vourvopoulos, George Vourvopoulos, Phillip C. Womble, Phillip C. Womble, Michael D. Belbot, Michael D. Belbot, Jonathon Paschal, Jonathon Paschal, Gary M. Spichiger, Gary M. Spichiger, } "Elemental characterization using pulsed fast-thermal neutrons", Proc. SPIE 3399, Process Control and Sensors for Manufacturing, (15 March 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.302552; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.302552
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