STP681: Development of an Oxygen Embrittlement Criterion for Zircaloy Cladding Applicable to Loss-of-Coolant Accident Conditions in Light-Water Reactors

    Chung, HM
    Metallurgists and senior metallurgist, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

    Garde, AM
    Metallurgists and senior metallurgist, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

    Kassner, TF
    Metallurgists and senior metallurgist, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

    Pages: 28    Published: Jan 1979


    Abstract

    To establish the mechanical response of Zircaloy cladding under thermal shock conditions typical of hypothetical loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) situations in light-water reactors (LWRs), cladding specimens were ruptured in steam during transient heating (10 K/s), oxidized at maximum temperatures between 1140 and 1770 K for various times, and cooled from the isothermal oxidation temperature to ∼1100 K at a rate of 5 K/s, and rapidly quenched by bottom flooding with water at a rate of ∼0.05 m/s. Failure “maps” for fracture of the cladding by thermal shock were developed relative to the maximum oxidation temperature and various time-dependent oxidation parameters. In situ pendulum-load impact tests were conducted at room temperature on tubes that survived the thermal quench. Information on the total absorbed energy from these tests was correlated with more extensive results from instrumented drop-weight impact tests. The thermal shock results indicate that the present Zircaloy embrittlement criterion (that is, a total oxidation limit of 17 percent of the wall thickness and a maximum cladding temperature of 1477 K) is conservative and that a more quantitative criterion, based upon the mechanical behavior of the oxidized material, can be formulated with a specified degree of conservatism consistent with the mechanical loads imposed on the cladding during reflood and the maximum amount of oxidation set by the margin of performance of emergency core-cooling systems in LWRs.

    Keywords:

    zirconium alloys, deformation, thermal shock, impact properties


    Paper ID: STP36703S

    Committee/Subcommittee: B10.02

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36703S


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