In a reactivity-initiated accident, cladding failure may occur by crack initiation within a defect such as a hydride rim or blister and subsequent crack propagation through the thickness of the thin-wall cladding. In such a circumstance, determining the cladding resistance to crack propagation in the through-thickness direction is crucial to predicting cladding failure. To address this issue, through-thickness crack propagation in hydrided Zircaloy-4 sheet was analyzed at 25 °C, 300 °C, and 375 °C. At 25 °C, the fracture toughness decreased with increasing hydrogen content and with an increasing fraction of radial hydrides. Hydride particles fractured ahead of the crack tip, creating a path for crack growth. At both 300 °C and 375 °C, the resistance to crack-growth initiation was sufficiently high that crack extension was often caused by crack-tip blunting. There was no evidence of hydride particles fracturing near the crack tip, and no significant effect of hydrogen content on fracture toughness was observed at these elevated temperatures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- General Materials Science
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering