Mechanistic modeling of lifetime distribution of SiC/SiC composite claddings

Chen Hu, Joseph F. Labuz, Takaaki Koyanagi, Jia Liang Le

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Silicon carbide (SiC) fiber-reinforced SiC matrix (SiC/SiC) composites have emerged as a new material candidate for fuel claddings in light water reactors. Recent studies showed that the load capacity of SiC/SiC materials exhibits a considerable statistical variation. Therefore, reliability analysis plays a critical role in design of SiC/SiC composite claddings. This paper presents a probabilistic model for the lifetime distribution of SiC/SiC composites. The model is anchored by a multiaxial stress-based failure criterion and subcritical damage accumulation mechanism. Based on the kinetics of subcritical damage growth, the lifetime distribution of a laboratory test specimen for any given loading history can be calculated. A finite weakest-link model is used to extrapolate the lifetime distribution of test specimens to full-length claddings. It is shown that the damage accumulation mechanism has a strong influence on the lifetime distribution of the cladding. This finding highlights the importance of understanding the static fatigue behavior of SiC/SiC composites. The present analysis also demonstrates an intricate length effect on the failure probability of the cladding, which is expected to play a crucial role in design extrapolation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3066-3077
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the Nuclear Engineering University Program of the Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, under grant DE‐NE0008785. The work at ORNL was partially supported by the US Department Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, for the Advanced Fuels Campaign of the Nuclear Technology R&D program. The authors thank Dr. Gyanender Singh for assistance with the thermo‐mechanical analysis of SiC/SiC cladding.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 The American Ceramic Society.


    • Weibull statistics
    • composites
    • damage
    • silicon carbide


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