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Origin of zirconium alloys

Initially, zirconium was not considered a suitable material for use in the nuclear industry, because studies have shown that "zirconium" affects the efficiency of nuclear reactors by absorbing thermal neutrons. Later, researchers at the oak ridge institute found that the 2.5 percent of hafnium in zirconium was responsible for its large thermal neutron capture cross section. Zirconium and hafnium are associated in ore and are generally difficult to separate. It was not until the 1850s that Admiral decided to use zirconium in the water-cooled reactors of the nautilus Nuclear submarine in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion project. Although zirconium had been used in the project at the time, there were no strict standards for the use of zirconium. The researchers only knew that improving the purity of the zirconium was beneficial to the properties of the alloy. Some processes are used to purify strip zirconium, but it still contains a small amount of nitrogen, making it less resistant to corrosion at high temperatures. Finally, the researchers realized that purity was not the key to the corrosion resistance of zirconium. They found that some zirconium containing impurities such as tin, iron, chromium and nickel were more resistant to corrosion than high-purity zirconium. Therefore, the development of zirconium alloy has been put on the agenda.
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