Effect of hydrogen isotopes on tensile and fracture properties of Zr–2.5Nb pressure tube material

Abstract

The majority of data reported in open literature on hydride embrittlement of Zr alloys is based on hydrogen not deuterium which evolves during aqueous corrosion of in-core components in pressurized heavy water reactor operations. It is assumed that hydrogen and deuterium have similar effects on tensile properties and fracture toughness of Zr alloys. The thermal and physical properties as well as stress free transformation strain of hydrides and deuterides are different. Because of these differences, hydrogen and deuterium may affect tensile and fracture properties of Zr alloys to a different extent. The hydrogen isotope effects on tensile and fracture properties were investigated using samples machined from Zr–2.5Nb pressure tube (PT) material charged with hydrogen between 30 and 200 wppm and tests were carried out between 25 and 300 °C. The tensile properties and fracture toughness of the hydrogen charged Zr–2.5Nb PT material were compared to the Zr–2.5Nb PT material charged with deuterium. The observed effect of hydrogen isotopes on tensile and fracture toughness was rationalized in terms of stress free transformation strain and the temperature dependence of the fracture toughness of the hydrided material was correlated with the presence of axial splits on fracture surfaces.

Graphic abstract

The effect of hydrogen isotope on tensile and fracture properties was investigated for the Zr–2.5Nb pressure tube (PT) material charged with hydrogen between 30 and 200 wppm and in the temperature range of 25 and 300 °C and compared with the corresponding values determined for the Zr–2.5Nb PT material charged with deuterium. It was observed that for a given concentration up to 200 wppm, hydrogen and deuterium charged Zr–2.5Nb PT material have practically same tensile and fracture properties at all test temperatures between 25 and 300 °C indicating no effect of nature of hydrogen isotope on tensile and fracture properties of Zr–2.5Nb PT material.

Effect of hydrogen isotopes on a tensile property, yield strength (YS) and b fracture toughness parameter, Jmax of Zr-2.5Nb PT material at different temperatures. The data points are shown by the symbols and trends are shown by the lines. The data points of the hydrogen and deuterium are shown by open and closed symbols, respectively, whereas trend lines of hydrogen and deuterium are shown by the solid and dotted lines, respectively.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    wppm reported throughout this manuscript is in the term of hydrogen equivalent (Heq.).

    wppm(Heq.) = wppm(H) + wppm(D)/2.

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Acknowledgement

Authors are grateful to Dr. S. Banerjee and Dr. R. K. Sinha, former Secretaries, Department of Atomic Energy for constant encouragement and Dr. G. K. Dey, former Director, Materials Group, BARC and Dr. Madangopal Krishnan, Director, Materials Group for their constant support and encouragement. Authors acknowledge Mr. S. Vijayakumar, former Associate Director (T), Engineering Directorate, NPCIL, for providing the material for this study. Technical assistance provided by Shri K. C. Mazumdar, Shri Bhupendra K. Kumawat and Shri Sandeep A. Chandanshive of MMD in carrying out various experiments are thankfully acknowledged.

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AKB: Experimental work and draft manuscript preparation. RNS: Supervision, Discussion of the results and Reviewing and Editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to R. N. Singh.

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Bind, A.K., Singh, R.N. Effect of hydrogen isotopes on tensile and fracture properties of Zr–2.5Nb pressure tube material. Int J Fract 227, 193–204 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10704-020-00506-7

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Keywords

  • Zr–2.5Nb alloy
  • Pressure tubes
  • Hydrogen isotopic effect
  • Tensile and fracture properties