The objective of this work is to develop a fully automated tensile machine for post-irradiation examination (PIE) of Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF)/Materials Open Test Assembly (MOTA) irradiated miniature tension specimens. The anticipated merit of the automated tensile machine is to reduce damage to specimens during specimen handling for PIE and to reduce exposure to radioactive specimens. This machine is designed for testing at elevated temperatures, up to 873 K, in a vacuum or in an inert gas environment. Twelve specimen assemblies are placed in the vacuum chamber that can be tested successively in a fully automated manner.
A unique automated tensile machine for the PIE of FFTF/MOTA irradiated specimens, the Monbusho Automated Tensile Machine (MATRON) consists of a test frame with controlling units and an automated specimen-loading apparatus. The qualification of the test frame has been completed, and the results have satisfied the machine specifications. The preliminary tests utilizing unirradiated specimens reproduced duplicated data with those from an Instrontype testing machine. An automated specimen-loading apparatus has also been developed, and the qualification of the functions of this apparatus has been completed. The further improvements, which add flexibility to accept deformed specimens that do not fit the original dimensions, will also be reported.
The capabilities of producing creep and relaxation data have been demonstrated for Cu, Al, 316SS, and ferritic steels. The specimen holders for the three-point bending test and the small bulge test (small punch test; SP test) were also designed and produced. These fixtures are currently being tested to verify the validity of the material test results.