Investigation of δ zirconium hydride morphology in a single crystal using quantitative phase field simulations supported by experiments

P. C.A. Simon, Larry K. Aagesen, Andrea M. Jokisaari, Long Qing Chen, Mark R. Daymond, Arthur T. Motta, Michael R. Tonks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In light water nuclear reactors, waterside corrosion of the cladding material leads to the production of hydrogen, a fraction of which is picked up by the zirconium cladding and precipitates into brittle hydride particles. These nanoscale hydride particles aggregate into mesoscale hydride clusters. The principal stacking direction of the nanoscale hydrides precipitated in the cladding tube changes from circumferential in the absence of applied stress to radial under circumferential applied stress. A quantitative phase field model has been developed to predict the hydride morphology observed experimentally and identify the mechanisms responsible for nanoscale hydride stacking. The model focuses on nanoscale hydride precipitation in a single zirconium grain with a detailed description of the anisotropic elastic contribution. The model predictions concerning the shape, orientation, and stacking behavior of nanoscale hydride are analyzed and compared with experimental observations. The model accurately accounts for the experimentally observed elongated nanoscale hydride shape and the stacking of hydrides along the basal plane of the hexagonal zirconium matrix. When investigating the role of applied stress in hydride morphology, the model challenges some of the mechanisms previously proposed to explain hydride reorientation. Although hydride reorientation has been hypothesized to be caused by a change in nanoscale hydride shape, the current study shows that these mechanisms are unlikely to occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153303
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of δ zirconium hydride morphology in a single crystal using quantitative phase field simulations supported by experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this