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Vacancy-solute clustering in Fe-Cr alloys after neutron irradiation

Konstantinovic, M. J.; Ulbricht, A.; Brodziansky, T.; Castina, N.; Malerba, L.

Vacancy-solute clustering in neutron irradiated Fe-Cr alloys with various concentrations of Cr and minor solutes (Ni, Si and P) were studied by using
coincidence Doppler broadening spectroscopy and small angle neutron scattering techniques. The results from both experiments, supported by an object kinetic Monte Carlo model, show in a very consistent way the existence and formation of vacancy-CrNiSiP clusters that play detrimental role in irradiation hardening. Similar solute cluster number density of about 30 to 50 x10^16cm-3 and an average diameter of about 1 nm were estimated for all alloys containing minor solutes, irrespectively of the chromium content. In Fe9Cr ferritic and Fe9Cr ferritic/martensitic alloys, with significantly reduced concentration of minor solute elements, the main defects are vacancy clusters, with an average cluster size size of about 10 and 2 vacancies, respectively. Large concentration of alpha'-precipitates was observed in Fe14Cr(NiSiP). However, both vacancy clusters and alpha'-precipitates provide significantly less impact to hardening in comparison to vacancy-CrNiSiP clusters. The fact that vacancy clustering in Fe9Cr ferritic alloy resembles that of pure iron suggests that Cr solutes may play lesser role in irradiation hardening of ferritic alloys and steels than previously believed.

Keywords: Neutron irradiation; FeCr alloys; Steels

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  • Secondary publication expected from 24.07.2021

Publ.-Id: 31344