M D P I AG
Place of Publication
School of Engineering
Homogeneous distribution of fine second-phase particles (SPPs) fabricated by cycles of deformation and annealing in zirconium alloys is a critical consideration for the corrosion resistance of fuel claddings. Different deformation degrees of zirconium alloys would result in distinctive microstructures, leading to a distinct growth of SPPs during subsequent annealing. Unfortunately, the homogenization and growth behavior of SPPs in deformed zirconium alloys have not been well studied. In this work, a β-quenched Zr–Sn–Nb–Fe–Cu–Si–O alloy was rolled and annealed at 580◦C or 680◦C. The morphologies, distributions, and sizes of SPPs resulting from the different processing procedures were investigated. A linear distribution of SPPs is found in the β-quenched sample. Afterward, SPPs grow and are randomly distributed during heat treatment as the deformation degree or annealing time (or temperature) increases. The homogenization and growth of SPPs are attributed to the Ostwald ripening mechanism that is governed by lattice diffusion and short-circuit diffusion. The sample with a higher deformation degree is speculated to have a larger number of defects that provide more shortcuts for the mass transfer of SPPs, thereby facilitating a homogeneous distribution of fine SPPs during annealing.
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