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Behavior and failure of uniformly hydrided Zircaloy-4 fuel claddings between 25 °C and 480 °C under various stress states, including RIA loading conditions

Abstract : The anisotropic plastic behavior and the fracture of as-received and hydrided Cold-Worked Stress Relieved Zircaloy-4 cladding tubes are investigated under thermal-mechanical loading conditions representative of Pellet-Clad Mechanical Interaction during Reactivity Initiated Accidents in Pressurized Water Reactors. In order to study the combined effects of temperature, hydrogen content, loading direction and stress state, Axial Tensile, Hoop Tensile, Expansion Due to Compression and hoop Plane Strain Tensile tests are performed at room temperature, 350 °C and 480 °C on the material containing various hydrogen contents up to 1200 wt. ppm (hydrides are circumferential and homogeneously distributed). These tests are combined with digital image correlation and metallographic and fractographic observations at different scales. The flow stress of the material decreases with increasing temperature. The material is either strengthened or softened by hydrogen depending on temperature and hydrogen content. Plastic anisotropy depends on temperature but not on hydrogen content. The ductility of the material decreases with increasing hydrogen content at room temperature due to damage nucleation by hydride cracking. The plastic strain that leads to hydride fracture at room temperature decreases with increasing hydrogen content. The influence of stress triaxiality on hydride cracking is negligible in the studied range. The influence of hydrogen on material ductility is negligible at 350 °C and 480 °C since hydrides do not crack at these temperatures. The ductility of the material increases with increasing temperature. The evolution of material ductility is associated with a change in both the macroscopic fracture mode of the specimens and the microscopic failure mechanisms.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 4:51:16 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 12:22:01 PM

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Matthieu Le Saux, Jacques Besson, Sébastien Carassou, Christophe Poussard, Xavier Averty. Behavior and failure of uniformly hydrided Zircaloy-4 fuel claddings between 25 °C and 480 °C under various stress states, including RIA loading conditions. Engineering Failure Analysis, Elsevier, 2010, 17, pp.683-700. ⟨10.1016/j.engfailanal.2009.07.001⟩. ⟨hal-00461500⟩

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