Simulation of Crystal Plasticity in Irradiated Metals: A Case Study on Zircaloy-4

Chris Hardie, Rhys Thomas, Yang Liu, Philipp Frankel, Fionn Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A classical crystal plasticity formulation based on dislocation slip was extended to include the mechanisms of dislocation channelling, with associated strain softening which is observed in many alloys post irradiation. The performance of the model was evaluated against experimental data on Zircaloy-4, which included engineering stress-strain response and high-resolution digital image correlation strain mapping. Variants of the model were developed to evaluate the influence on the strain hardening law used, comparing hardening based on a linear relationship for effective plastic strain with that based on the evolution of geometrically necessary dislocations. In addition, governing equations for simulating the interaction between gliding dislocations with various types of irradiation defect were investigated; this included the comparison of isotropic and anisotropic interactions based on the resultant reaction segments for each interaction. It was shown that the engineering stress-strain response measured by experiment could be captured by many of the model variants, but the simulation of characteristic strain heterogeneity was more sensitive to the model used. Direct modelling of the HRDIC experiments indicated that the model successfully predicted the activation of slip systems in many cases and exhibited localised strain distribution as observed in the experiment. In all models localised kink band formation was predicted, which is not observed experimentally, which highlights limitations in modelling of softening materials with a local crystal plasticity approach and a required area of development going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118361
JournalActa Materialia
Early online date14 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2022


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