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Influence of intra-granular void distribution on the grain sub-structure of UO2 pellets after high temperature compression tests

Abstract : The aim of this work is to study the role of the intra-granular voids, on the macroscopic behavior and the microstructure of uranium dioxide (UO 2) for different strain conditions in the dislocational creep regime. Two batches (B1 and B2) of stoichiometric UO 2 pellets were fabricated by adapted powder metallurgy processes to obtain very close mean grain size and porosity but different fractions of intra-granular voids: they were 2.5 times more numerous in the second batch. The pellets were then compressed at 1773 K mostly in the dislocational regime for different strain levels and strain rates. Large Electron BackScattered Diffraction (EBSD) maps were acquired to quantify the sub-boundaries fraction in each deformed sample (with reliable detection of disorientation lines down to 0.25°). Accurate-Electron Contrast Channeling Image (Accurate-ECCI) experiments were also performed to evidence the arrangement of dislocations in the sub-boundaries and highlight their interaction with intra-granular voids. The fractions of sub-boundaries and their disorientation increased in both batches with increasing strain levels and strain rates. This confirms that during creep, UO 2 is subject to a dynamic recovery mechanism. Interestingly, for similar deformation conditions, the pellets from batch B2 crept slower than those from batch B1. They also had a higher fraction of sub-boundaries which were more tortuous and located essentially close to the grain boundaries where the voids clustered. This suggests an influence of intra-granular voids on the creep rate, probably due to a void pinning effect of dislocation sub-boundaries. This effect should be taken into account to optimize the microstructure and mechanical properties of UO 2 nuclear fuel, in order to improve its behavior under irradiation.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 6, 2020 - 5:31:13 PM
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M. Ben Saada, X. Iltis, N. Gey, A. Miard, P. Garcia, et al.. Influence of intra-granular void distribution on the grain sub-structure of UO2 pellets after high temperature compression tests. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Elsevier, 2021, 545, pp.152632. ⟨10.1016/j.jnucmat.2020.152632⟩. ⟨hal-02993289⟩



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