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Prmted in Great Britain

Correlation Between the Strength and Vickers listed in Table 1. The apparent densities of the
Hardness of Some Nuclear Graphite graphite blocks were about 1.7-1.8 g/cm’. Tensile,
compressive, bending, and hardness specimens
(Received 8 January 1974)
were cut out from each graphite block.
The mechanical properties of nuclear graphites The tensile specimens, which were 60 mm over-
are important for reactor designers who are con- all length, had a guage length 21 mm long X 5 mm
cerned with the design of reactor core structures dia. with transitional fillets of 30 mm radius to end
consisting largely of graphites, such as tensile, grips which were 8 mm dia. cylinders. The com-
compressive, and bending tests require a number pressive specimen was 12 mm long X 6 mm dia.
of specimens because of the scatter of data. On the The bending specimens were 60 mm long x 5 mm
other hand, the hardness test is non-destructive dia. and the hardness specimens were 15 mm x
and much data can be obtained from a single 15 mm X 10 mm.
specimen, even though the extent of the scatter of Specimens were cut out in the parallel and
data is larger than that in destructive tests. perpendicular directions to the extrusion axis for
The hardness value is considered to represent the extruded materials and parallel or perpen-
elastic and plastic properties, though the physical dicular to the press axis for the molded ones.
meaning of hardness is not definite at all. Young’s Tensile and compressive tests were performed
modulus with tensile, compressive, and bending at room temperature at a strain rate of 7 X 10mi/sec
strengths of various graphites have been already using an Instron tensile testing machine. Three or
investigated[l-41. If the Giffith theory of brittle four specimens were used for each test. The
fracture is assumed to apply to the tensile fracture Vickers and Shore hardness tests were conducted
of polycrystalline nuclear graphites, a definite cor- on a piece of the same material. In this case of the
relation should be seen between Young’s modulus Vickers hardness test in which a double impression
and strength. However, the relationships seen to is generally observed, the outer lines of the
be almost linear[2, 31 but not parabolic. The pur- impression were used to obtain the Vickers hard-
1”~ of this study is to investigate the correlation ness value. The loads used in the Vickers hardness
of strength with Vickers hardness of nuclear test were 5 and 10 kg. Bending tests were per-
graphites. formed by the four point bending method, in
Eleven kinds of graphite blocks of reactor grade which inner span and outer span were taken at
or high purity grade were used as test materials. 20 mm and 40 mm, respectively. The bending
All of the graphite blocks used in this study are speed was 1.6 mmimin.

Table 1. Some graphites for testing

Original Apparent
Block size Densitv
Sign Brand Coke Forming Grade [mm1 (gkm’j R.kP

Molded 500” x 600 I.78 1.Ol

i ;!-:-24 Gilsonite 100” x 750 I.80 1.08
SE 2-24 Extruded Nuclear 150m x 750 1.1.5

c. 7477 Needle,
x x
1.75 1.04
A 7477/P-I- fine grained Molded Nuclear 400 200 140 1.74 1 .OO

C! H-327 450* = 800 1.78 1.49

EF SMG 100 x 100 x 100 1.75 I.10
K G163 AS Needle 1 Extruded 1 Nuclear 100 x 100 x 300 1.76 1.17
n SEGRM-H 170m x 1000 I.71 1 .6X
0 SEG5H 110 x 220 x 75 1 .uo
Ll SEG-6H I Molded High Purity 110X220x75 1.81

*Bacon anisotropy factor


A plot of tensile strength a, vs Vickers Hardness

H, is shown in Fig. 1. The data for some of the
nuclear graphites (IM-2, 7477PT, 7477) are fitted
to a straight line which is expressed by
at = 0,122 H, (1)
The points for other graphites, however, greatly
scatter around the above equation.
Figure 2 indicates the correlation of compressive
strength with Vickers hardness which shows com-
paratively good fitting to the following equation by
least mean square method:
Us = 0.44 H, +- 0.8 [kg/mm*]. (2)
Figure 3 shows the bending strength vs hardness
relation of various graphites. If Shore hardness is
used, Fig. 4 shows the relationship between Vic- 0 4 6 12 16 20 24
kers and Shore hardness readings. Vickers Hardness
Irradiation effects on the correlation of com-
pressive strength with Vickers hardness were in- Fig. 2. Compressive strength vs Vickers hardness
vestigated for some nuclear graphites. Neutron relation of various nuclear graphites.
irradiation was performed by the Japan Research
Reactor no. 2, up to the fluence of 3 X 10” n/cm’
(> 1 MeV) at 750-960°C in helium. Results are
shown in Fig. 5. Data points scatter around the
dotted line. The solid line shows the correlation
for unirradiated graphites. Figure 5 indicates that
the relative increase in Vickers hardness by neut-
ron irradiation is larger than the relative increase
in compressive strength. The same result has been
found for some brittle metals[5].
The tensile strength Us of graphite has been
found by many investigators to follow the Griffith

0’ /
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 26

Vickers Hardness

Fig. 3. Bending strength vs Vickers hardness rela-

tion of various graphites.


0' ,
4 6 12 16 20 24 26 0 4 6 12 16 20 24

Vickers Hardness Vickers Hardness

Fig. 1. Tensile strength vs Vickers hardness rela- Fig. 4. Relation between Vickers hardness and
tion of various nuclear graphites. Shore hardness.

but does not lead to fracture directly. This means

that the fracture in tension is different from that in
compression. It is considered that the weakest link
hypothesis holds in tensile fracture and the tensile
fracture strain is generally smaller than the com-
pressive fracture strain. In the case of compressive
deformation several per cent of strain is ;illc>wecl,
but in the case of tensile deformation only a few
tenths of per cent of strain is permitted up to
In the case of hardness test, the surface of the
specimen around the impression is known to
suffer tensile deformation over some area around
the impression. The deformation under imprez-
0 L 8 12 16 20 2L 28
sion, however, is almost completely compressive.
Vlckers Hardness
The reason why the compressive strength is prop-
Fig. 5. Irradiation effects on the correlation Of ortional to the Vickers hardness for many bt-ands
compressive strength with Vickers hardness of of graphite is not definite at all, but this relation is
snme nuclear graphites. not unreasonable taking into account the deforma
tion mode under impression. The compressive
theory of brittle materials. Reynolds suggests[6] strength vs Vickers hardness relation obtained
that here means that the V’ickers hardness can be usrcl
as a substitute for the strength to investigate
_=- u

CA c
various effects,
such as irradiation effects. on the

where U is the surface free energy and c is the

length of crack, and E is Young’s modulus. Acknowledgements-The authors would like to
Good et al., obtain [‘7] the result that U, a value of thank Dr. Y, Sasaki for valuable discussion and are
the basal plane surface energy, is nearly equal to much indebted to Messrs. T. Usui and Y. Fukuda
70 ergs/cm* and c = 5 pm. Cracks of several mic- for help with the experiments.
rons in length has been observed by scanning
electron microscopy near the fracture surface. If TATSUO OKI!
the Griffith equation is assumed in the bending MOTOKC’NI FTO
fracture process, the following relation should Japan Atomic Energy Research Institzctr
hold: Tokai-mum, Ibaraki-ken
tr,ad/E (4)
However much data show a linear cor-
relation [2-41.
There are a number of investigations of the o, 1. Losty H. H. W. and Orchard J. S., Proc. Fifth
vs H., relation for brittle metals which suggest that Carbon Conf. Pergamon Press p. 519, (1961).
the following correlation holds over a temperature 2. Platonov P. A., et al., Atomnaya Energ. 35, 169
range of - 196-20°C: (1973).
3. Everett M. R. and Ridealgh F., Hi& Temp.
a, m H, (3 -High Press. 4, 169 (1972).
where u* is the flow stress at a constant strain. In 4. Sato S. and Miyazono S., Carbon 2, 103 (1964).
the case of graphites the compressive strength is 5. Oku T. and Usui T., J Nuc(. Mater. 40, 98
proportional to the Vickers hardness as shown in (1971).
equation (2). Tensile fracture properties of 6. Reynolds W. H., Phil. Mug. 11, 357 (1965).
graphite are different from compressive fracture 7. Good R. J., Gilifalco I,. A. and Kraus G.. /. Phya.
properties. The crack formation during compres- Chem. 62, 1418 (1958).
sive deformation decreases [8] Young’s modulus 8. Oku T. and Eto M., Carbon, 11, 639 (1973).