Effect of Texture on Anisotropic Thermal Creep of Pressurized Zr-2.5Nb Tubes
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Zr-2.5Nb is used as pressure-tube material in CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) reactors. Under reactor operating conditions, pressure tubes undergo anisotropic dimensional changes, and thermal creep contributes to this deformation. In a previous study, the limited textures available to Zr-2.5Nb significantly restricted the understanding of the relationship between texture and creep anisotropy. Moreover, there has been no research performed to investigate textures and stress states simultaneously for this material, which would provide a valuable resource for developing creep anisotropy models and optimizing textures to improve creep resistance. Cold-worked Zr-2.5Nb fuel sheathing (FS) and micro pressure tubes (MPT) with various textures and microstructures were used as experimental materials. The tubes were machined as thin-wall standard (ratio of axial to transverse stress 0.5) and end-loaded (ratio of axial to transverse stress = 0.25~0.75) capsules and were internally pressurized and sealed. Stress and temperature dependence tests were performed on standard capsules under transverse stresses of 100~325MPa at 300~400°C to establish a regime in which dislocation glide is the likely strain producing mechanism. An average stress exponent vaule of 6.4 was obtained, indicating that dislcation creep is the likely dominant mechanism. Texture and stress state dependence tests were performed on standard and end-loaded capsules under a nominal transverse stress of 300MPa at 350°C. It was evident that creep anisotropy strongly correlates with textures under different stress states. A self-consistent polycrystalline model SELFPOLY7 based only upon crystallographic texture was employed to simulate the creep anisotropy of the tubes. However, the model cannot fit all the experimental data well by using a uniform critical resolved shear stress (CRSS) ratio of the operating slip systems. A modification was made, by taking into account the pre-existing dislocation distributions generated during cold work, and an improvement was achieved. This work provides a valuable resource for understanding the effect of texture, stress states and microstructure on anisotropic creep of cold-worked Zr-2.5Nb tubes. The current research also provides a strategic direction to improve creep anisotropy predictions. The large sets of experimental data supply a database to evaluate and develop improved models.