Identification and characterization of a new zirconium hydride

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Zirconium alloys are currently used in nuclear power plants where they are susceptible to hydrogen pick-up. Hydride precipitation may occur when the hydrogen solubility limit is reached. Various Zr hydride phases, γ, δ and ε have been identified since the 1950s. Combining electron precession microdiffraction, electron energy loss spectroscopy and ab initio electronic calculations, a new Zr hydride named ζ has been identified and characterized. It belongs to the trigonal crystal system with space group P3 m1 and it is fully coherent with the αZr matrix.

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