Specimen geometries have been developed to determine the mechanical properties of irradiated Zircaloy cladding subjected to the mechanical conditions and temperatures associated with reactivity-initiated accidents (RIA) and loss-of-coolant accidents (LOCA). Miniature ring-stretch specimens were designed to induce both uniaxial and plane-strain states of stress in the transverse (hoop) direction of the cladding. Also, longitudinal tube specimens were also designed to determine the constitutive properties in the axial direction. Finite-element analysis (FEA) and experimental parameters and results were closely coupled to optimize an accurate determination of the stress-strain response and to induce fracture behavior representative of accident conditions. To determine the constitutive properties, a procedure was utilized to transform measured values of load and displacement to a stress-strain response under complex loading states. Additionally, methods have been developed to measure true plastic strains in the gauge section and the initiation of failure using real-time data analysis software. Strain rates and heating conditions have been selected based on their relevance to the mechanical response and temperatures of the cladding during the accidents.
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