Jul 12, 2017, (Research Matters):
Zirconium is a hard and ductile metal with high resistance to corrosion and low absorption of thermal neutrons, like the ones produced in a nuclear reactor, making them extremely useful as cladding for fuel rods in nuclear reactors. Zr-1Nb is an alloy of Zirconium and Niobium, which is one of the common alloys used as cladding. Processing of Zr-1Nb usually takes place in two phases to get the right microstructure of the alloy and perform optimally as a cladding agent. Thus, it becomes important to know the behavior of the alloy in each of the phases, to best assess its quality. Current methods followed to determine the behavior however, do not take the two phases into consideration, affecting the final result of the test. Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai have now developed a novel method to test the behavior of the alloy in the two phases to ensure the needed properties. They have also developed a processing map to efficiently process Zr-1Nb alloys with minimal defects.