The neutron irradiation of Fe-based fusion and fission reactor materials leads to an increase in ductile-to-brittle transition temperature with a decrease in upper shelf energy. It is well known that Cu content has a strong influence on the embrittlement phenomenon, as Cu-rich clusters (CRPs) are thought to be directly responsible for embrittlement. In contrast, mechanical property studies for steels with different Cu levels exhibit dominant matrix defects in the embrittlement of both low-Cu steels and high-Cu steels at high fluences. To determine the effects of dislocation loops and CRPs on radiation hardening in those steels, neutron irradiation was conducted on Fe-0.6wt%Cu alloy. The neutron irradiation was performed in BR2 at 290◦ C up to a dose of 4.1 × 1024 n/m2. After irradiation, the microstructure was observed and analyzed by spherical aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) combined with X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy, using a JEOL ARM200FC. This technique enabled simultaneous observation of ~10 nm CRPs and dislocation loops. Additional high-voltage electron irradiation was performed at room temperature, and the dislocation loops were identified as interstitial-type dislocation loops. Radiation-induced hardening due to neutron irradiation was estimated by measuring the size and density of the dislocation loops and the CRPs. These results suggest that simultaneous observation of dislocation loops and CRPs using the Cs-corrected STEM with EDS analysis is essential for the study of radiation-induced hardening in Fe-based alloys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Metals and Alloys