Published: Jan 1983
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As indicated in Chapter 1, one of the variables of importance in describing the irradiation creep of zirconium alloys is the degree of exposure of the material to irradiation, often described in terms of neutron fluence. The primary reason for this neutron fluence dependence is that during irradiation an irradiation-induced microstructure evolves, and this microstructure in turn dramatically affects mechanical properties. This microstructure, and hence these property changes, are not entirely fluence dependent, but are functions of the irradiation temperature, the stress state, the neutron energy spectrum, and the initial metallurgical conditions. Consequently, a discussion of irradiation creep in zirconium and the Zircaloys must be prefaced by some review of the nature of the irradiation microstructure, its observed dependence on material and operating conditions, and its effect on deformation behavior.