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Nanoindentation response of ion-irradiated Fe, Fe-Cr alloys and ferritic-martensitic steel Eurofer 97: The effect of ion energy

Das, A.; Altstadt, E.; Kaden, C.; Kapoor, G.; Akhmadaliev, S.; Bergner, F.


Nanoindentation of ion-irradiated nuclear structural materials and model alloys has received considerable interest in the published literature. In the reported studies, the materials were typically exposed to irradiations using a single ion energy varying from study to study from below 1 MeV to above 10 MeV. However, systematic investigations into the effect of ion energy are still missing, meaning that the possibilities to gain insight from systematic energy variations are not yet exhausted. We have exposed pure Fe, ferritic Fe-9Cr, martensitic Fe-9Cr and the ferritic-martensitic reduced-activation steel Eurofer 97 to ion irradiations at 300 °C using 1 MeV, 2 MeV and 5 MeV Fe2+ ions as well as 8 MeV Fe3+ ions and applied nanoindentation, using a Berkovich diamond indenter, to characterize as-irradiated samples and unirradiated references. The effect of the ion energy on the measured nanoindentation response is discussed for each material. Two versions of a primary-damage-informed model are applied to fit the measured irradiation-induced hardening. The models are critically compared with the experimental results also taking into account reported microstructural evidence. Related ion-neutron transferability issues are addressed.

Keywords: iron; Fe-Cr alloy; ferritic-martensitic steel; ion irradiation; displacement damage; nanoindentation; irradiation hardeníng; indentation size effect

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