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Top Story

How to make metal alloys that stand up to hydrogen

High-tech metal alloys are widely used in important materials such as the cladding that protects the fuel inside a nuclear reactor. But even the best alloys degrade over time, victims of a reactor’s high temperatures, radiation and hydrogen-rich environment. Now, a team of researchers has found a way of greatly reducing the damaging effects these metals suffer from exposure to hydrogen. The team’s analysis focused on zirconium alloys, which are widely used in the nuclear industry, but the basic principles they found could apply to many metallic alloys used in other energy systems and infrastructure applications, the researchers say.

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