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Synchrotron diffraction study of dissolution and precipitation kinetics of hydrides in Zircaloy-4

Journal of Nuclear Materials / Volume 420, issues 1-3, January 2012, pages 537-547

Summary

This paper presents observations of in situ heating and cooling cycles using synchrotron X-ray diffraction carried out on Zircaloy-4 plates charged to different levels of hydrogen content. The diffraction peak intensities were used to derive the weight fraction of hydrogen in solid solution and the solvi curves upon dissolution and precipitation. The heating and cooling rate did not seem to have a major influence on the solvi. Fast-cooling/dwell experiments showed that the precipitation kinetics are very fast. Finally the evolutions of the lattice strains from individual grain families were studied during dissolution and precipitation. The aim was to understand the role of interphase misfit stresses on the mechanisms of hydride formation and hysteresis between dissolution and precipitation. The results emphasise that changes in dissolved H concentration are responsible for a non-negligible part of the lattice distortion in the matrix, and that the diffraction strains must therefore be analysed with care.

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