Effects of Surface Roughness, Oxidation, and Temperature on the Emissivity of Reactor Pressure Vessel Alloys

Robert Tirawat, J. King, H. Jo, K. Blomstrand, K. Sridharan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


Thermal radiation will be an important mode of heat transfer in future high-temperature reactors and in off-normal high-temperature scenarios in present reactors. In this work, spectral directional emissivities of two reactor pressure vessel (RPV) candidate materials were measured at room temperature after exposure to high-temperature air. In the case of SA508 steel, significant increases in emissivity were observed due to oxidation. In the case of Grade 91 steel, only very small increases were observed under the tested conditions. Effects of roughness were also investigated. To study the effects of roughening, unexposed samples of SA508 and Grade 91 steel were roughened via one of either grinding or shot-peening before being measured. Significant increases were observed only in samples having roughness exceeding the roughness expected of RPV surfaces. While the emissivity increases for SA508 from oxidation were indeed significant, the measured emissivity coefficients were below that of values commonly used in heat transfer models. Based on the observed experimental data, recommendations for emissivity inputs for heat transfer simulations are provided.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalNuclear Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Nuclear Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-70256


  • Low-alloy steels
  • Reactor pressure vessel
  • Spectral emissivity


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