The Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility is a research reactor designed to simulate rapid transients to test new fuel designs. TREAT's cladding is exposed to unique conditions compared to normal water reactors. These conditions include: exposure to air at high temperatures (≥600 °C), rapid heating (≈700 °C/s), and cladding geometry that includes chamfers and welds. This work investigates the effects of chamfering and welding on the oxidation behavior of zirconium alloys (Zircaloy-3, Zircaloy-4, and Zr–1Nb). Tube specimens were examined under isothermal and transient conditions in dry and humid air. The effect of weld type (tungsten inert gas or electron beam), the number of welds, and alloying elements are compared. Thermogravimetric analysis was used to collect mass gain data during isothermal oxidation and the data was used to quantify the oxidation rate constant and the activation energy of oxidation. Oxide behavior in the weld region, chamfered region, and bulk tube was measured and compared. The microstructure and secondary phase precipitates in EBW tubes before and after breakaway were characterized. The electron beam welded Zr–1Nb specimen was found to have the most favorable oxidation behavior under both isothermal and transient conditions. Zry-4 oxidized the most readily and was the most affected by mechanical deformation.
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Vandegrift, Jordan; Parga, Clemente J.; Coryell, Ben; Butt, Darryl P.; and Jaques, Brian J. (2019). "Oxidation Behavior of Welded Zry-3, Zry-4, and Zr–1Nb Tubes". Nuclear Materials and Energy, 21, 100714-1 - 100714-12. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nme.2019.100714