The mechanical behavior and J-integral of macroscopic hydride platelet clusters in hydrided Zr-2.5Nb pressure tube materials are investigated by two-dimensional finite element analyses with cohesive zone model under plane strain conditions. The hydride platelets are assumed to be separated at the early stage of the loading and are treated as cracks. The cohesive zone model with a trapezoidal traction-separation law is adopted. The macroscopic mechanical behavior is quantified by the macroscopic stress-strain relations and the fracture parameter of the bulk radial hydride is specified by the J integral-stress relations. The hydride platelet spacing has major effects while the cohesive energy and cohesive strength have minor effects on the mechanical behavior and fracture properties of the bulk hydrides. The computational results suggest that the hydride platelet cluster can be viewed as a soft region with a reduced load carrying capacity at large stress under plane strain loading conditions. A hydride platelet cluster may be treated as a cracked bulk hydride but with a reduced crack tip driving force for fracture.

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