Description: Zircaloy cladding tubes strain in-situ during service life in the corrosive environment of a Pressurized Water Reactor for a variety of reasons. First, the tube undergoes stress free growth due to the preferential alignment of irradiation induced vacancy loops on basal planes. Positive strains develop in the textured tubes along prism orientations while negative strains develop along basal orientations (Reference (a)). Second, early in life, free standing tubes will often shrink by creep in the diametrical direction under the external pressure of the water environment, but potentially grow later in life in the diametrical direction once the expanding fuel pellet contacts the cladding inner wall (Reference (b)). Finally, the Zircaloy cladding absorbs hydrogen as a by product of the corrosion reaction (Reference (c)). Once above the solubility limit in Zircaloy, the hydride precipitates as zirconium hydride (References (c) through (j)). Both hydrogen in solid solution and precipitated as Zirconium hydride cause a volume expansion of the Zircaloy metal (Reference (k)). Few studies are reported on that have investigated the influence that in-situ clad straining has on corrosion of Zircaloy. If Zircaloy corrosion rates are governed by diffusion of anions through a thin passivating boundary layer at the oxide-to-metal interface (References (l) through (n)), in-situ straining of the cladding could accelerate the corrosion process by prematurely breaking that passivating oxide boundary layer. References (o) through (q) investigated the influence that an applied tensile stress has on the corrosion resistance of Zircaloy. Knights and Perkins, Reference (o), reported that the applied tensile stress increased corrosion rates above a critical stress level in 400 C and 475 C steam, but not at lower temperatures nor in dry oxygen environments. This latter observation suggested that hydrogen either in the oxide or at the oxide-to-metal interface is involved in the observed stress effect. Kim et ...
Date: June 21, 2001
Creator: Kammenzind, B.F., Eklund, K.L. and Bajaj, R.
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