The influence of multiaxial states of stress on the hydrogen embrittlement of zirconium alloy sheet

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


The ductility of ZIRCALOY *-2 sheets containing 21-615 wt ppm hydrogen has been investigated at room temperature over a range of stress states from uniaxial to equibiaxial tension. Data based on locally determined fracture strains show a decrease in ductility with both increasing hydrogen content and increasing degree of biaxiality of the stress state. Metallographic and fractographic examinations indicate that the embrittlement is a consequence of void nucleation (due to hydride fracture), void growth, and void link-up. The influence of hydrogen content and stress state on each of the sequential stages of ductile fracture is determined. These results indicate that the primary cause for the influence of stress state on the hydrogen embrittlement of the ZIRCALOY sheet is that void link-up is initiated at a much lower critical void density in equibiaxial tension than in uniaxial tension. This appears to be a result of equibiaxial deformation enhancing (a) direct participation of previously unfractured hydrides in providing a fracture path linking up voids and (b) a localized shear instability process which is triggered by the nucleation of voids.

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Metallurgical Transactions A