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Nature 206, 610 - 611 (08 May 1965); doi:10.1038/206610a0

Dimensional Changes and Radiation Creep in Graphite at Very High Neutron Doses


Metallurgy Division, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, Nr. Didcot.

RADIATION creep1–4 is the deformation produced by the combined effect of stress and irradiation in a nuclear reactor. In graphite, radiation creep consists of a permanent set, transient creep, and steady-state creep. The permanent set and transient creep are comparable with the elastic strain and it is normally assumed that the steady-state creep is proportional to the stress and the total neutron dose. It is of some interest to know whether the steady-state creep can become large compared with the elastic strain. The initial creep rate is such that this requires a fast neutron dose of ~ 1022 n cm−2. Such neutron doses can be obtained in the course of a few months in the Dounreay Fast Reactor, at the centre of which the neutron flux is ~ 2.5 × 1015 n cm2. Graphite samples have been irradiated in the fast reactor under stress and creep strains of several per cent have been obtained. The elastic strain at breaking in tension is ~ 0.1 per cent.

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