In order to evaluate residual the stress distribution in oxides formed on zirconium alloys, synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) was performed on the oxides formed on Zircaloy-2 after autoclave treatment at a temperature of 360° C in pure water. The use of a micro-beam XRD and a micro-sized cross-sectional sample achieved the detailed local characterization of the oxides. The oxide microstructure was observed by TEM following the micro-beam XRD measurements. The residual compressive stress increased in the vicinity of the oxide/metal interface of the pre-transition oxide. Highly oriented columnar grains of a monoclinic phase were observed in that region. Furthermore, at the interface of the post-first transition oxide, there was only a small increase in the residual compressive stress and the columnar grains had a more random orientation. The volume fraction of the tetragonal phase increased with the residual compressive stress. The results are discussed in terms of the formation and transition of the protective oxide.
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