2023 journal article

How can machine learning be used for accurate representations and predictions of fracture nucleation in zirconium alloys with hydride populations?

APL Materials.

co-author countries: United States of America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Source: ORCID
Added: July 12, 2023

Zirconium alloys are critical material components of systems subjected to harsh environments such as high temperatures, irradiation, and corrosion. When exposed to water in high temperature environments, these alloys can thermo-mechanically degrade by forming hydrides that have a crystalline structure that is different from that of zirconium. Cracks can nucleate near these hydrides; hence, these hydrides are a direct link to fracture failure and overall large inelastic strain deformation modes. To fundamentally understand and predict these microstructural failure modes, we interrogated a finite-element database that was deterministically tailored and generated for large strain-dislocation-density crystalline plasticity and fracture modes. A database of 210 simulations was created to randomly sample from a group of microstructural fingerprints that encompass hydride volume fraction, hydride orientation, grain orientation, hydride length, and hydride spacing for a hydride that is physically representative of an aggregate of a hydride population. Machine learning approaches were then used to understand, identify, and characterize the dominant microstructural mechanisms and characteristics. We first used fat-tailed Cauchy distributions to determine the extreme events. A multilayer perceptron was used to learn the mechanistic characteristics of the material response to predefined strain levels and accurately determine the critical fracture stress response and the accumulated shear slips in critical regions. The predictions indicate that hydride volume fraction, a population-level parameter, had a significant effect on localized parameters, such as fracture stress distribution regions, and on the accumulated immobile dislocation densities both within the face centered cubic hydrides and the hexagonal cubic packed h.c.p. matrix.