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FFT-based model for irradiated aggregate microstructures in concrete...

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Materials and Structures
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The concrete biological shield of light water reactors is exposed to neutron and gamma irradiation throughout its lifetime, which results in the long-term degradation of the concrete’s mechanical properties. Under neutron irradiation, the concrete’s aggregates are subjected to radiation-induced volumetric expansion (RIVE), which strongly depends on the mineral content of the aggregate and exhibits the largest expansion in silicate-bearing minerals. In this work, the authors used the fast Fourier transform-based code Microstructure-Oriented Scientific Analysis of Irradiated Concrete (MOSAIC) in 2D to model the expansion of five different aggregates provided by the Japan Concrete Aging Management Program (JCAMP). Comparable rock specimens were irradiated at the JEEP-II test reactor. The model uses realistic aggregate microstructure reconstruction based on high-resolution characterization images. The model accounts for anisotropic RIVE, thermal expansion, and the associated initiation and propagation of damage. The RIVE models are calibrated based on expansion data in the literature. The authors assume that damage occurs exclusively at interfaces between the particles that compose an aggregate and that these interfaces also exhibit swelling. Using a micromechanical model, the evolution of Young’s modulus with RIVE is calculated for each aggregate and compared with Russian irradiation data. The modeled linear expansion agrees well with the experimentally measured expansion. The model also predicts that anisotropic RIVE and thermal expansion result in an earlier onset of damage with neutron fluence than in the isotropic case.