Investigation of the corrosion behaviour of metallic aluminium embedded in a cement matrix

SCK•CEN Mentor

Caes Sébastien,, +32 (0)14 33 32 38

Expert group

R&D Waste Packages

SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Druyts Frank , , +32 (0)14 33 31 37


The Belgian Reactor 1 (BR1) fuel is composed of natural unalloyed metallic uranium, coated with an aluminosilicate alloy bonding layer and an U(Al,Si)3 anti-diffusion layer, and encapsulated in an aluminium container. One solution for the long-term management of this fuel, which will eventually become waste, is geological disposal. To do so, a direct embedding of the waste in a cement-based material could be used. In contact with the highly alkaline cement pore water, high corrosion rates are observed for aluminium and uranium to form e.g. aluminium hydroxide, uranium oxides and hydrides, and hydrogen gas. These products can then lead to stresses in the encapsulated matrix, damaging this matrix. However, if a cement-based material possessing a low porosity is used, the diffusion of water through the material will be limited, and due to this mass transport limitation, the corrosion rate should drastically decrease.


The purpose of this Master thesis proposal is the study of the corrosion of the aluminium cladding. To mimic as much as possible the disposal conditions, metallic aluminium will be embedded in a cement matrix, under anaerobic condition and in highly alkaline solutions. The influence of the cement matrix thickness and the cement porosity on the corrosion rate has also to be investigated. Finally, the characterisation of the metallic aluminium before and after corrosion has to be made to fully understand the corrosion mechanism.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Academic bachelor

The candidate needs to have a background in


Estimated duration

6 months