In-situ phase studies of the Zr-H system

Tuerdi Maimaitiyili

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis


Zirconium alloys are widely used in the nuclear industry because of their high strength, good corrosion resistance and low neutron absorption cross-section. However, zirconium has strong affinity for hydrogen, which may lead to hydrogen concentration build-up over time during a corrosion reaction when exposed to water. Hydrogen stays in solution at higher temperature but precipitates as zirconium hydrides at ambient temperatures. The formation of zirconium hydrides is considered to be a major cause of embrittlement, in particular as a key step in the mechanism of delayed hydride cracking.

Despite the fact that zirconium hydrides have been studied for several decades, the basic nature and mechanisms of hydride formation, transformation and exact structure are not yet fully understood. In order to find the answer to some of these problems, the precipitation and dissolution of hydrides in commercial grade Zr powder were monitored in real time with high resolution synchrotron and neutron radiations, and the whole pattern crystal structure analysis, using Rietveld and Pawley refinements, were performed.

For the first time all commonly reported zirconium hydride phases and complete reversible transformation between two different Zr-hydride phases were recorded with a single setup and their phase transformation type have been analyzed. In addition, the preparation route of controversial γ-zirconium hydride (ZrH), its crystal structure and formation mechanisms are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Materials Engineering
  • Ståhle, Per, Supervisor
  • Bjerkén, Christina, Supervisor
  • Blomqvist, Jakob, Supervisor, External person
ISBN (Print)978-91-637-6610-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Materials Engineering

Free keywords

  • in situ phase transformation
  • hydrogen embrittlement
  • hydrogen charging
  • zirconium hydride
  • γ-ZrH
  • synchrotron X-ray diffraction
  • neutron diffraction
  • hydrogen induced degradation


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