Evolution of Interphase and Intergranular Strain in Zr-Nb Alloys During Deformation at Room Temperature
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Zr-2.5Nb is currently used for pressure tubes in the CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) reactor. A complete understanding of the deformation mechanism of Zr-2.5Nb is important if we are to accurately predict the in-reactor performance of pressure tubes and guarantee normal operation of the reactors. This thesis is a first step in gaining such an understanding; the deformation mechanism of ZrNb alloys at room temperature has been evaluated through studying the effect of texture and microstructure on deformation. In-situ neutron diffraction was used to monitor the evolution of the lattice strain of individual grain families along both the loading and Poisson’s directions and to track the development of interphase and intergranular strains during deformation. The following experiments were carried out with data interpreted using elasto-plastic modeling techniques: 1) Compression tests of a 100%Zr material at room temperature. 2) Tension and compression tests of hot rolled Zr-2.5Nb plate material. 3) Compression of annealed Zr-2.5Nb. 4) Cyclic loading of the hot rolled Zr-2.5Nb. 5) Compression tests of ZrNb alloys with different Nb and oxygen contents. The experimental results were interpreted using a combination of finite element (FE) and elasto-plastic self-consistent (EPSC) models. The phase properties and phase interactions well represented by the FE model, the EPSC model successfully captured the evolution of intergranular constraint during deformation and provided reasonable estimates of the critical resolved shear stress and hardening parameters of different slip systems under different conditions. The consistency of the material parameters obtained by the EPSC model allows the deformation mechanism at room temperature and the effect of textures and microstructures of ZrNb alloys to be understood. This work provides useful information towards manufacturing of Zr-2.5Nb components and helps in producing ideal microstructures and material properties for pressure tubes. Also it is helpful in guiding the development of new materials for the next generation of nuclear reactors. Furthermore, the large data set obtained from this study can be used in evaluation and improving current and future polycrystalline deformation models.