Phase transformation and stability studies of the Zr-H system

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Phase transformation and stability studies of the Zr-H system


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Public defence 2015-12-03
Time 10:15
Location M:E LTH, Lund University
Faculty examiner Dr. Lars Hallstadius, Westinghouse Electric Company
Publication Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis, comprehensive summary
Title Phase transformation and stability studies of the Zr-H system
Author Maimaitiyili, Tuerdi
Date 2015
English abstract
Zirconium alloys are widely used in the nuclear industry because of their high strength, good corrosion resistance and low neutron absorption cross-section. Zirconium has a strong affinity for hydrogen, however, and if hydrogen concentration builds up, the material will gradually degrade. In one class of such hydrogen caused degradation, called hydride induced embrittlement, hydrogen chemically reacts with zirconium forming one, or several, crystal phases of zirconium hydride. These hydrides play a primary, but sometime not fully understood, role in crack initiation and propagation within these materials. Despite the fact that hydride induced embrittlement in zirconium have been studied for several decades, there are still some unresolved issues. It has been the aim of the research presented in this thesis to provide the research community with new and updated data of the hydrides themselves in order to aid further studies within the field of hydride induced embrittlement in general, and the mechanism of delayed hydride cracking in particular. To that end, the research presented here proceeded, in short, as follows: First, zirconium hydride powder, of well defined hydrogen concentration, was produced from commercial grade zirconium. This powder was subjected to heat treatment and the hydride phases were characterized both in situ and ex situ using neutron, synchrotron X-ray, and conventional laboratory X-ray based diffraction techniques. Next, most of the low-pressure zirconium hydride phases were produced under hydrogen/argon atmosphere from commercial grade zirconium powder. This process was simultaneously monitored and recorded in real time using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. These experiments have produced new data of the behavior of different hydride phases during thermal treatment and in situ hydrogenation. For the first time all commonly reported zirconium hydride phases and the complete transformation between two different hydride phases were recorded with a single experimental arrangement. The phase transformation between δ and ε zirconium hydride was recorded in detail and presented. Finally, the controversial γ zirconium hydride was observed both in situ and ex situ and the preparation route, its crystal structure, and formation mechanisms were analyzed and presented.
Publisher Lund University
ISBN 978-91-7623-552-2
Language eng (iso)
Subject Zirconium hydride
synchrotron X-ray diffraction
Nuclear materials
phase transformation
in-situ hydrogen charging
hydrogen related degradation
neutron diffraction
powder diffraction
Rietveld analysis
hydrogen embrittlement
Research Subject Categories::NATURAL SCIENCES
Included papers
  1. In situ hydrogen loading on zirconium powder, T. Maimaitiyili, J. Blomqvist, A. Steuwer, C. Bjerkén, O. Zanellato, M. S. Blackmur, J. Andrieux, and F. Ribeiro. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, 22(4):995–1000, Jul 2015.

  2. The preparation of Zr-deuteride and phase stability studies of the Zr-D system. T. Maimaitiyili, A. Steuwer, J. Blomqvist, O. Zanellato, C. Bjerkén, M. Hölzel. Submitted to Journal of Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials.

  3. The phase transformation between the δ and ε Zr hydrides. T. Maimaitiyili, A. Steuwer, J. Blomqvist, M. S. Blackmur, O. Zanellato, C. Bjerkén, J. Andrieux, and F. Ribeiro. Under review, Journal of Nuclear Materials.

  4. In situ observation of γ-ZrH formation and dissolution by X-ray diffraction. T. Maimaitiyili, C. Bjerkén, J. Blomqvist, J. Andrieux, O. Zanellato, Z. Wang, J.E. Daniels and A. Steuwer. Submitted to Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

  5. Observation of temperature stability of γ-zirconium hydride by high-resolution neutron powder diffraction. Z. Wang, A. Steuwer, N.Liu, T. Maimaitiyili, M. Avdeev, J. Blomqvist, C. Bjerkén, C. Curfs, J.A. Kimpton, J. Daniels. Accepted for publication, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 2015.

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