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Numerical Modeling of Zirconium Alloys Hot Extrusion
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Hot extrusion is used within the forming route of cladding tubes to deform the billets into tube hollows, which are then cold-rolled to produce the final tubes with the suitable properties for in-reactor use. The hot extrusion goals are to give the appropriate geometry for cold pilgering (diameter and wall thickness suitable for cold-rolling mills, good concentricity) without surface defects and microstructural heterogeneities, which are detrimental for subsequent rolling. To ensure a good quality of the tube hollows, extrusion parameters (e.g., temperature of the billet, ram speed, extrusion ratio, lubrication) and extrusion tools have to be chosen as a function of the press capacity and mechanical and microstructural properties of the extruded alloy. For this purpose, finite-element and analytical models are used in addition to experimental tests. These models, particularly the former, can take into account the thermomechanical coupling that occurs in the tube and the tools during extrusion and provides a good prediction of the extrusion pressure and thermomechanical history of the extruded product. Together with a microstructural evolution model identified with small-scale extrusion tests, torsion tests, and heat treatments, this last result can also be used to calculate the fragmentation of the microstructure in the die and the meta-dynamic recrystallization after extrusion. Once validated against experimental data, numerical models were used to better understand and master the extrusion loads, the microstructure evolutions at the front end of the extruded tubes, and the temperature and stresses applied to the tools.
zirconium alloys, extrusion, numerical modeling, finite element, recrystallization
AREVA NP, CRC,
AREVA NP, CRC,