Investigating the affect of chlorine carbides on fracture toughness in zirconium alloys used for nuclear applications

Zirconium alloys are used extensively in nuclear reactor cores for key components such as fuel assemblies and pressure tubes. It is extremely important that the in-service behavior of these components is well characterized to ensure they remain fit-for-service. This work will investigate the relationship between harmful impurity elements, specifically chlorine, and the fracture toughness of a zirconium alloy, Zr-2.5Nb. It is known that chlorine results in the formation of tiny precipitates, which are particularly damaging because they tend to cluster and form elongated voids, termed fissures. Despite there significance there is a lack of mechanistic understanding concerning the formation of fissures, which this fellowship aims to remedy. The work is a collaboration with Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL) who support the Canadian nuclear industry through their expertise on the in-reactor behavior of core components. This fellowship will be mutually beneficial to Queen’s University and CNL as Queen’s University is home to a new state-of-the-art nuclear materials characterization suite; and will be the centre of the bulk of the research carried out as part of this work. This will allow for high-impact publications and a more thorough understanding of the effect of chlorine on the fracture toughness Zr-2.5Nb

Faculty Supervisor:

Mark Richard Daymond


Matthew Leslie Topping


Canadian Nuclear Laboratories


Engineering - mechanical


Professional, scientific and technical services


Queen's University



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects