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This review summarizes the flow and fracture behavior of irradiated zirconium-niobium alloys. It is confined to the alloys currently used in power reactors, namely Zr-1.ONb, Zr-2.5Nb, and Zr-2.5Nb-0.5Cu, and of these, most of the literature deals with the Zr-2.5Nb alloy. Both before and after irradiation, the Zr-2.5Nb alloy has a good combination of strength and ductility; these properties have enabled reactor designers to replace Zircaloy with Zr-2.5Nb in applications where the superior in-reactor creep resistance of the latter alloy is important. The good ductility of the irradiated Zr-2.5Nb alloy, however, is dependent on the alloy remaining below the beta transus in the final stages of heat-treatment/fabrication before irradiation. Although there is much information on the deformation of the irradiated material relevant to reactor design, the basic understanding of the deformation is in an early stage of development.
zirconium, zirconium-niobium alloy, irradiation, zirconium alloys, irradiation hardening, fracture (materials)
Research officer, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River Nuclear Labs., Chalk River, Ontario