Zirconium — material overview
Looking for a valve in this exotic alloy? Find it in the following configurations: Ball, Butterfly, Cast, Check, Control, Cryogenic, Custom made, Foot, Forged, Gate, Globe, Needle, Plug, and Safety relief, as well as Strainers.
Alloy Valve Stockist supplies zirconium gate, globe, check, ball, butterfly, plug, needle and custom made valves.
Zirconium alloys are solid solutions of zirconium or other metals, a common subgroup having the trade mark Zircaloy. Zirconium has very low absorption cross-section of thermal neutrons, high hardness, ductility and corrosion resistance. Therefore, one of the main uses of zirconium alloys is in nuclear technology, as cladding of fuel rods in nuclear reactors, especially water reactors. A typical composition of nuclear-grade zirconium alloys is more than 95 weight percent zirconium and less than 2% of tin, niobium, iron, chromium, nickel and other metals, which are added to improve mechanical properties and corrosion resistance.
The water cooling of reactor zirconium alloys elevates requirement for their resistance to oxidation-related nodular corrosion. Furthermore, oxidative reaction of zirconium with water releases hydrogen gas, which partly diffuses into the alloy and forms zirconium hydrides. The hydrides are less dense and are weaker mechanically than the alloy; their formation results in blistering and cracking of the cladding – a phenomenon known as hydrogen embrittlement.