The orientation and distribution of hydrides formed in zirconium alloy nuclear fuel cladding can strongly influence material behavior and in particular resistance to crack growth. The hydride microstructure and hydride platelet orientation (whether in-plane or radial relative to the cladding tubes) are crucial to determining cladding failure limits during mechanical testing. Hydride formation is normally studied by post-facto metallography, performed at room temperature and in the absence of applied stress. This study uses synchrotron radiation to observe in situ the kinetics of hydride dissolution and precipitation in previously hydrided Zircaloy samples. The experiments allow the direct observation of hydride dissolution, re-precipitation, and re-orientation, during heating and cooling under load. The solubility limits and the hydride-matrix orientation relationship determined from in situ experiments were in good agreement with previous post-facto examinations of bulk materials. The present measurements performed under stress and at temperature showed a characteristic diffraction signature of reoriented hydrides. The results suggest a threshold stress for hydride re-orientation between 75 and 80 MPa for the microstructure/texture studied. These results are discussed in light of existing knowledge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys