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The use of a steam corrosion autoclave test as a quality control tool for Zircaloy products has been practiced for many years. The most common form of the test is exposure to steam at 672 K, 10.3 MPa (750°F, 1500 psi) for three days. Some years ago it was found that this test did not predict susceptibility to the occurrence nodular corrosion in boiling water reactors (BWR). A number of investigators found that a test at 723 to 773 K would produce nodular corrosion on Zircaloy products and therefore used the test as an index for research work on Zircaloy materials. More recently the test has been proposed as a quality control test on each lot of material. This study of test parameters and interlaboratory variability was undertaken as a necessary part of establishing an ASTM standard for such a test. Temperature of the test was found to be the most significant variable studied, and interlaboratory variation was relatively high when compared with the common 672 K test.
nuclear industry, zirconium, zirconium alloys, corrosion, nodular corrosion, autoclave testing, boiling water reactors
Engineering Manager, Sandvik Special Metals Corporation, Kennewick, WA