Sensitivity analysis for characterizing the impact of HNGD model on the prediction of hydrogen redistribution in Zircaloy cladding using BISON code

Seok Bin Seo, Edward M. Duchnowski, Arthur T. Motta, Bruce F. Kammenzind, Nicholas R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hydrogen in zirconium cladding is able to precipitate into zirconium hydrides which impacts cladding integrity. The Hydride Nucleation-Growth-Dissolution (HNGD) model in the BISON code accounts for the precipitation and dissolution kinetics of hydride in Zircaloy material. This paper presents global sensitivity analyses of the HNGD model aiming to enhance our understanding of the hydride precipitation phenomena by quantifying the variance that key parameters have on the prediction of hydrogen behavior under various environmental conditions. Model predictions are compared to experimental data obtained under two different conditions: 1) with uniformly precharged specimens subjected to a linear thermal gradient, and 2) specimens precharged with a cathodically applied hydride rim at one end of the sample and subjected to an asymmetric thermal gradient. The Sobol sensitivity analysis identifies the key parameters in the HNGD model for both types of specimens. For linear temperature cases, the heat of transport dominates the accuracy of predictions when no precipitation occurs at the cold end, while Terminal Solid Solubility for Dissolution (TSSD) is the most important parameter when precipitation occurs. A large variation in the predicted hydrogen concentration profiles is found in the range of high TSSD due to the occurrence of precipitation. For asymmetric temperature cases, the solubility coefficient gives the largest impact on the predicted hydrogen distribution, as it determines the amount of solute hydrogen dissolved from the initially applied hydride rim. A large discrepancy in hydrogen distribution between simulations and experiments exists with the asymmetric specimens because BISON simulations fail to predict the precipitation of hydride at the cooler end. Comparative studies using former and updated models verifies the significant impact of the hydride growth mechanism on predicted hydrogen concentration profiles. In particular, when hydride initially exists, changes in TSSD generate a large variation in the predicted amount of precipitation by hydride growth, giving large uncertainty in predicting the hydrogen distribution over the sample length. The outputs characterize the significant impact of the hydride growth mechanism in the HNGD model on predicting hydrogen behavior, and improve the understanding of the precipitation of hydride in Zircaloy cladding within a range of expected environmental conditions. The analyses indicate work is still needed to improve the hydride solvus models in the BISON code to accurately predict experimentally observed hydride concentrations and distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111813
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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