A new in situ sample environment has been designed and developed to study the interfacial interactions of nuclear cladding alloys with high temperature steam. The sample environment is particularly optimized for synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies for in situ structural analysis. The sample environment is highly corrosion resistant and can be readily adapted for steam environments. The in situ sample environment design complies with G2 ASTM standards for studying corrosion in zirconium and its alloys and offers remote temperature and pressure monitoring during the in situ data collection. The use of the in situ sample environment is exemplified by monitoring the oxidation of metallic zirconium during exposure to steam at 350 °C. The in situ sample environment provides a powerful tool for fundamental understanding of corrosion mechanisms by elucidating the substoichiometric oxide phases formed during the early stages of corrosion, which can provide a better understanding of the oxidation process.
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