It is planned that doped copper overpacks will be utilized in the spent nuclear fuel repositories in Finland and in Sweden. The assessment of long-term integrity of the material is a matter of importance. Grain structure variations, segregation and any possible manufacturing defects in microstructure are relevant in terms of susceptibility to creep and damage from the loading evolution imposed by its operating environment. This work focuses on studying the microstructure level length-scale dependent deformation behavior of the material, of particular significance with respect to accumulation of plasticity over the extensive operational period of the overpacks. The reduced micromorphic crystal plasticity model, which is similar to strain gradient models, is used in this investigation. Firstly, the model’s size dependent plasticity effects are evaluated. Secondly, different microstructural aggregates presenting overpack sections are analyzed. Grain size dependent hardening responses, i.e., Hall–Petch like behavior, can be achieved with the enhanced hardening associated with the micromorphic model at polycrystalline level. It was found that the nominally large grain size in the base material of the overpack shows lower strain hardening potential than the fine grained region of the welded microstructure with stronger strain gradient related hardening effects. Size dependent regularization of strain localization networks is indicated as a desired characteristic of the model. The findings can be utilized to provide an improved basis for modeling the viscoplastic deformation behavior of the studied copper alloy and to assess the microstructural origins of any integrity concerns explicitly by way of full field modeling.
- Copper alloys
- Crystal plasticity