Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 2008)
Intergranular and Interphase Constraints in Zirconium Alloys
We report the development of intergranular and interphase constraints in textured Zircaloy-2, Zr-2.5Nb, and Excel alloy during room temperature tension and compression loading in two or three directions relative to the parent texture. Neutron diffraction was used to track the lattice strain development in the α-phase (all alloys) and β-phase (Zr-2.5Nb and Excel) in three principal directions relative to the parent texture. Zircaloy-2 at room temperature is essentially single phase hcp αZr. The active deformation mechanisms appear to be, in order of increasing critical resolved shear stress, prism (a) slip, basal (a) slip, tensile twinning and pyramidal (c+a) slip. No compressive twinning was observed. Combined with intergranular constraints due to prior thermal treatment, these mechanisms result in substantial asymmetry in the yield stress and lattice strain development (compression versus tension). In Zr-2.5 Nb and Excel, the α-phase appears to deform by the same slip mechanisms as Zircaloy-2, and similar assymmetry of the yield stress and lattice strain development is observed. However, the existence of tensile twinning is not clearly evidenced. The β-phase also deforms by slip, but the critical resolved shear stress is much higher than that for the slip mechanisms in the α-phase, leading to the development of very large interphase constraints in the plastic deformation regime. This is attributed to a combination of solution strengthening of the β-phase (by Nb and, in Excel, Mo) and by grain size.