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Title: Methodology for Mechanical Property Testing on Fuel Cladding Using an Expanded Plug Wedge Test

To determine the tensile properties of irradiated fuel cladding in a hot cell, a simple test was developed at ORNL and is described fully in US Patent Application 20060070455, Expanded plug method for developing circumferential mechanical properties of tubular materials. This method is designed for testing fuel rod cladding ductility in a hot cell utilizing an expandable plug to stretch a small ring of irradiated cladding material. The specimen strain is determined using the measured diametrical expansion of the ring. This method removes many complexities associated with specimen preparation and testing. The advantages are the simplicity of measuring the test component assembly in the hot cell and the direct measurement of specimen strain. It was also found that cladding strength could be determined from the test results. The basic approach of this test method is to apply an axial compressive load to a cylindrical plug of polyurethane (or other materials) fitted inside a short ring of the test material to achieve radial expansion of the specimen. The diameter increase of the specimen is used to calculate the circumferential strain accrued during the test. The other two basic measurements are total applied load and amount of plug compression (extension). A simplemore » procedure is used to convert the load circumferential strain data from the ring tests into material pseudo-stress-strain curves. However, several deficiencies exist in this expanded-plug loading ring test, which will impact accuracy of test results and introduce potential shear failure of the specimen due to inherited large axial compressive stress from the expansion plug test. First of all, the highly non-uniform stress and strain distribution resulted in the gage section of the clad. To ensure reliable testing and test repeatability, the potential for highly non-uniform stress distribution or displacement/strain deformation has to be eliminated at the gage section of the specimen. Second, significant compressive stresses were induced by clad bending deformation due to a clad bulging effect (or the barreling effect). The barreling effect caused very large localized shear stress in the clad and left testing material at a high risk of shear failure. The above combined effects will result in highly non-conservative predictions both in strength and ductility of the tested clad, and the associated mechanical properties as well. To overcome/mitigate the mentioned deficiencies associated with the current expansion plug test, systematic studies have been conducted. Through detailed parameter investigation on specific geometry designs, careful filtering of material for the expansion plug, as well as adding newly designed parts to the testing system, a method to reconcile the potential non-conservatism embedded in the expansion plug test system has been discovered. A modified expansion plug testing protocol has been developed based on the method. In order to closely resemble thin-wall theory, a general procedure was also developed to determine the hoop stress in the tested ring specimen. A scaling factor called -factor is defined to correlate the ring load P into hoop stress . , = . The generated stress-strain curve agrees very well with tensile test data in both the elastic and plastic regions.« less
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  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
NN6001030; MDGA507
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); High Temperature Materials Laboratory (HTML)
Sponsoring Org:
NNSA USDOE - National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
expansion plug test; tensile strength; nuclear fuel clad; wedge insert