Abstract: FZD report 533 (2010)

F. Bergner, U. Birkenheuer, and A. Ulbricht
Validation of software components for the prediction of irradiation-induced damage of RPV steel
Wissenschaftlich-Technischer Bericht FZD-533 (2010)
[Apr, 2010]


The modelling of irradiation-induced damage of RPV steels from primary cascades up to the change of mechanical properties bridging length scales from the atomic level up to the macro-scale and time scales up to years contributes essentially to an improved understanding of the phenomenon of neutron embrittlement. In future modelling may become a constituent of the procedure to evaluate RPV safety. The selected two-step approach is based upon the coupling of a rate-theory module aimed at simulating the evolution of the size distribution of defect-solute clusters with a hardening module aimed at predicting the yield stress increase. The scope of the investigation consists in the development and validation of corresponding numerical tools. In order to validate these tools, the output of representative simulations is compared with results from small-angle neutron scattering experiments and tensile tests performed for neutron-irradiated RPV steels.

Using the developed rate-theory module it is possible to simulate the evolution of size, concentration and composition of mixed Cu-vacancy clusters over the relevant ranges of size up to 10.000 atoms and time up to tens of years. The connection between the rate-theory model and hardening is based upon both the mean spacing and the strength of obstacles for dislocation glide. As a result of the validation procedure of the numerical tools, we have found that essential trends of the irradiation-induced yield stress increase of Cu-bearing and low-Cu RPV steels are displayed correctly. First ideas on how to take into account the effect of Ni on both cluster evolution and hardening are worked out.