This paper provides a view on the fracture behaviour of polygranular graphites, used to moderate gas cooled nuclear reactors. Graphite is often cited as a classic example of a brittle material because failure, in tension, is associated with small strains. However, attempts to characterise the fracture behaviour of graphite by linear elastic fracture mechanics methods have been largely unsuccessful. Observations of graphite fracture show that elastic strain energy may be dissipated by the formation of distributed microcracks, and their formation may be responsible for non-linearity in the rising load-displacement curve. Progressive softening behaviour may also be observed in some specimens after the peak load. This type of load-displacement behaviour is a characteristic of quasi-brittle materials. Radiolytic oxidation increases the proportion of porosity within reactor core graphite so that the microstructure becomes increasingly skeletal. Consideration is given to the fracture of radiolytically oxidised graphite to support an argument for quasi-brittle behaviour.
|Translated title of the contribution||Fracture behaviour of radiolytically oxidised reactor core graphites: a view|
|Pages (from-to)||899 - 907|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Materials Science and Technology|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2010|