STP1423

    Predicting the In-Reactor Mechanical Behavior of Zr-2.5Nb Pressure Tubes from Postirradiation Microstructural Examination Data

    Published: Jan 2002


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    Abstract

    Postirradiation microstructure examinations of Zr-2.5Nb pressure tubes removed from service in CANDU™ reactors have shown clear trends in the dislocation structure and the state of the β-phase, as a function of operating temperature, neutron flux, and time. These microstructural parameters correlate well with changes in the mechanical properties. For example, the rapid increase in dislocation loop density in the early stages of irradiation corresponds with a rapid increase in tensile strength and DHC velocity, and a corresponding decrease in fracture toughness. There is also a strong negative correlation between the degree of β-phase decomposition and DHC velocity. In addition to the effects of microstructure evolution on the mechanical properties, changes in the a-type and c-component dislocation loop densities also affect irradiation deformation (creep and growth).

    Statistical analyses of the irradiation microstructure data have been used to derive empirical relationships between dislocation densities and β-phase structure with temperature, flux, and time. The relationships thus derived are useful in predicting where the mechanical properties are most affected by the in-reactor operating conditions. The predictions are compared with mechanical test data for samples from various axial and circumferential locations of 42 pressure tubes removed from operating CANDU reactors. The results are discussed in terms of the mechanisms controlling tensile strength, fracture, delayed-hydride-cracking, and in-reactor deformation.

    Keywords:

    Zr-2.5Nb, pressure tubes, zirconium alloys, nuclear reactor materials, mechanical properties, yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, total elongation, delayed-hydride-cracking, neutron irradiation, radiation damage, microstructure, correlation, X-ray diffraction, line broadening, dislocation density, beta-phase


    Author Information:

    Griffiths, M
    Senior Scientists, AECL, Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario

    Davies, PH
    Senior Scientists, AECL, Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario

    Davies, WG
    Senior Scientists, AECL, Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario

    Sagat, S
    Senior Scientists, AECL, Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario


    Paper ID: STP11404S

    Committee/Subcommittee: B10.02

    DOI: 10.1520/STP11404S


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