PhD Defense | Aäron Penders | Microstructural investigation of irradiation assisted stress corrosion cracking mechanism based on focused ion beam analysis
Name: Aäron Penders
November 25th, 2022
16h00 - 18h00
Microstructural investigation of irradiation assisted stress corrosion cracking mechanism based on focused ion beam analysis
The operating conditions of pressurized-water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plants (i.e. those stationed in Doel and Tihange) can bring about severe material degradation which may limit the plant’s structural integrity and its expected lifetime. One of these degradation mechanisms is the not fully understood phenomena known as irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking (IASCC). IASCC is an intergranular cracking effect that manifests from the interplay between several factors, including the aspects of heavy neutron-irradiation (emanating from the nuclear fission reaction), the high temperature pressurized water environment (around 320 °C at 150 bars; exhibited by the coolant water that flows through the PWR system) and the residual stresses that are imposed during power plant operation. In the framework of this Ph.D. thesis, the IASCC phenomenon was investigated in both tested and industrial specimens, wherein which some of the materials were extracted from the Tihange-2 power plant site. In particular, the characterization of the microstructure and the morphology of intergranular IASCC cracks and crack tips along fully oxidized grain boundaries of stainless steels is deemed important. The results obtained in this investigation provide crucial information in order to rationalize some of the existing cracking models and methodologies used in the analysis of the failures of nuclear reactor components. This investigation was a collaboration between the University of Antwerp and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCKCEN, and was partially financially sponsored by Tractebel Engie.
Nick Schryvers (UANTWERPEN)
SCK CEN mentors:
Milan Konstantinovic (SCK CEN)
Rik-Wouter Bosch (SCK CEN)
Click here for a list of obtained PhD degrees.