Strain evolution during hydride precipitation in Zircaloy-4 observed with synchrotron X-ray diffraction
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Synchrotron X-ray diffraction was used to evaluate strain evolution observed in Zircaloy-4 undergoing hydride precipitation during a range of thermal operations. During continuous heating, a change in the constraining effect of the matrix was observed at a temperature of 280 °C, thought to be the result of matrix dilatation from interstitial hydrogen. A deconvolution of the thermal, chemical and mechanical sources of strain during quench and dwell operations identified a non-negligible mechanical effect in the matrix. During these dwells, slow strain rate relaxation of elastic strains was seen in the matrix and hydride, suggesting that time dependent relaxation of misfit stresses may be possible at reactor relevant temperatures. Notable anisotropy was observed between the rolling and transverse directions, identified as being the likely product of a similar anisotropy in the relaxation of the hydride misfit between the <112¯0>α and <11¯00>α matrix directions, owing to the differing coherency of these two interfaces.
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