Special Issue "Zirconium Alloys"
A special issue of Metals (ISSN 2075-4701).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2017
Zirconium alloys are used as the primary structural components in the nuclear power industry, because of their low thermal neutron absorption cross section, high corrosion resistance, good ductility, and satisfactory strength. In general, several interconnected problems are given special attention: (1) Corrosion. Corrosion of zirconium alloys is one of the main factors in the degradation of zirconium alloys during service. The surface reaction between the zirconium cladding and the coolant water in nuclear reactors leads to the oxidation of the cladding and the release of hydrogen. The pick-up of hydrogen in zirconium alloys induces the embrittlement of the tubes due to hydride formation. Therefore, there is great incentive to minimize the amount of oxidation and hydriding that materials experience in reactors. (2) Coating. The coating can provide a protective layer for the zirconium alloy that can reduce oxidation and hydrogen pick-up. The protective coating prepared on the zirconium cladding tube can effectively increase safety margins of nuclear plants. In general, the mechanical properties, the adherence between the coating and the zirconium substrate, the stability under irradiation and self-healing are the main problems that need to be taken into account. (3) Irradiation-induced damage. During service in nuclear reactors, zirconium alloys are exposed to neutron irradiation. Neutron irradiation can affect microstructural evolution, and the mechanical and corrosion properties of zirconium alloys. Irradiation-induced damage is one of the most important factors affecting the lifetime of zirconium alloy components in reactors.
A new generation of reactors will offer higher fuel burn-up, higher efficiency and excellent safety of operation. The performance and high efficiency of these advanced reactors are linked to more severe service environments. New zirconium alloys with improved resistance to the environment of high temperature, high pressure, high corrosion and high radiation field are necessary.
Dr. Wen Qin
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- Zirconium alloys
- Mechanical properties
- Hydrogen embrittlement