LAVA-GAP experiments are in progress to investigate the performance of the in-vessel core catcher using alumina melt as a corium simulant. The hemispherical in-vessel core catcher made of carbon steel was installed inside the lower head vessel with a uniform gap of 10mm. Until now, two types of the in-vessel core catcher were used in this study. The first one is a single layered in-vessel core catcher without an internal coating of the LAVA-GAP-2 test, and the other one is a two layered in-vessel core catcher with a 0.5mm-thick ZrO2 internal coating of the LAVA-GAP-3 test. Current LAVA-GAP experimental results indicate that an internally coated in-vessel core catcher has better thermal performance compared with an uncoated in-vessel core catcher. Metallurgical inspections on the test specimens of the LAVA-GAP-3 test have been performed to examine the performance of the coating material and the base carbon steel. Although the base carbon steel had experienced severe thermal attack to the extent that the microstructures were changed and re-crystallization occurred, the carbon steel showed stable and pure chemical compositions without any oxidation and interaction with the coating layer. In terms of the material aspects, these metallurgical inspection results suggest that the ZrO2 coating performed well.

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