High Pressure Burst Testing of SiCf-SiCm Composite Nuclear Fuel Cladding

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Applied Mechanics, Nuclear Engineering


Silicon carbide fiber reinforced silicon carbide matrix (SiCf-SiCm) composite tube is being developed as an accident tolerant fuel cladding material for light water reactors. The mechanical robustness of the material is of critical importance to ensure that the nuclear fuel and fission products are contained during both normal operation and accident conditions, such as the loss of coolant accident (LOCA) encountered in Fukushima Daiichi Plant. We report the development and application of a high pressure burst testing method to evaluate the mechanical robustness of SiCf-SiCm composite cladding. The internal high pressure is generated using a rubber tubing placed within the SiCf-SiCm sample tube. A unique test rig was designed to seal the ends of the rubber tubing while pressurizing it up to 2,000 bar by hydraulic oil. The expanding rubber tubing confined by the SiCf-SiCm sample tube thus exerts a controlled uniform internal pressure to the SiCf-SiCmsample. The full-field strain distribution of the outside surface of the sample was captured by 3D digital image correlation (DIC) method. The acoustic emission (AE) technique was used to detect damage events during the high pressure burst testing.