Delayed hydride cracking (DHC) behavior for zirconium alloys is characterized in terms of DHC velocity, VDHC, and Threshold Stress Intensity factor, KIH. The effect of specimen thickness on KIH associated with DHC of unirradiated Zr-2.5 Nb pressure tube material was investigated. For this purpose, KI at crack arrest for 1 mm–, 2 mm–, and 4.5 mm–thick specimens was determined using the load drop technique. Significant tunneling of the crack was observed for 1 mm– and 2 mm–thick specimens in the load drop test at 250°C. The KI at crack arrest was found to be increasing with the decrease in specimen thickness. However, extended finite element model (FEM) simulation revealed that KI at crack arrest in the center of the 1-mm specimen and 2-mm specimen is comparable to the values 9.2 ± 0.5 MPa.m1/2obtained for the 4.5 mm–thick specimen. Hence, if tunneling is not present in the specimen, the KIH was found to be independent of specimen thickness.
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