Investigation of Dual-Beam-Implanted Oxide-Dispersed-Strengthened FeCrAl Alloy by Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy
Oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) FeCrAl steel is a class with promising materials to be applied for future nuclear applications. However, radiation damage, especially the formation of vacancy clusters or gas-filled bubbles, may result in hardness increase and the loss of ductility. Positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) is demonstrated to be a very useful and non-destructive analysis method to detect and to determine open volume defects of sub-nm size in ODS alloy. Synchronized dual beam implantation of Fe and He ions is performed to simulate the radiation damage caused by (n, α) reactions and to avoid induced activation. For room temperature implantation, i.e. without significant point defect recombination, the differences in the defect formation are shown by comparison between irradiation of ODS alloy and pure Fe bulk. The open volume defects created in ODS alloy are vacancy clusters closely connected with dispersed Y oxide nanoparticles. Their profiles are in reasonable qualitative agreement with the hardness profiles, indicating a relationship between sub-nm vacancy clusters or He bubbles and the hardness of the material. In heat-treated ODS alloy, containing larger vacancy clusters, the radiation induced hardness increase is more distinctive than for as-received ODS alloy. For irradiation at a moderately enhanced temperature of 300°C open volume defects are drastically reduced. The few remaining defects are vacancy clusters of the same type as in as-received ODS alloy. Close to the surface the open volume defects completely disappear. These results are in agreement with the hardness measurements showing little hardness increase in this case. The suitability of ODS-based materials for nuclear applications was verified.
B.N. Ganguly and G. Brauer
R. Kögler et al., "Investigation of Dual-Beam-Implanted Oxide-Dispersed-Strengthened FeCrAl Alloy by Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy", Defect and Diffusion Forum, Vol. 331, pp. 149-163, 2012