Quantcast Neutron Flux

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DOE-HDBK-1019/1-93 Reactor Theory (Neutron Characteristics) NUCLEAR CROSS SECTIONS AND NEUTRON FLUX Rev. 0 Page 15 NP-02 Neutron Flux Macroscopic cross sections for neutron reactions with materials determine the probability of one neutron undergoing a specific reaction per centimeter of travel through that material.  If one wants to determine how many reactions will actually occur, it is necessary to know how many neutrons are traveling through the material and how many centimeters they travel each second. It is convenient to consider the number of neutrons existing in one cubic centimeter at any one instant and the total distance they travel each second while in that cubic centimeter.  The number of  neutrons  existing  in  a  cm   of  material  at  any  instant  is  called  neutron  density  and  is 3 represented by the symbol n with units of neutrons/cm .  The total distance these neutrons can 3 travel each second will be determined by their velocity. A good way of defining neutron flux (1   ) is to consider it to be the total path length covered by all neutrons in one cubic centimeter during one second. Mathematically, this is the equation below. 1 = n v (2-5) where: 1 = neutron flux (neutrons/cm -sec) 2 n = neutron density (neutrons/cm )3 v = neutron velocity (cm/sec) The  term neutron flux in some applications (for example, cross section measurement) is used as parallel beams of neutrons traveling in a single direction.  The intensity (I) of a neutron beam is the product of the neutron density times the average neutron velocity.  The directional beam intensity is equal to the number of neutrons per unit area and time (neutrons/cm -sec) falling on 2 a surface perpendicular to the direction of the beam. One  can  think of the neutron flux in a reactor as being comprised of many neutron beams traveling  in  various  directions.    Then,  the  neutron  flux  becomes  the  scalar  sum  of  these directional flux intensities (added as numbers and not vectors), that is, 1    = I  + I  + I  +...I . 1 2 3 n Since the atoms in a reactor do not interact preferentially with neutrons from any particular direction, all of these directional beams contribute to the total rate of reaction.  In reality, at a given point within a reactor, neutrons will be traveling in all directions.


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