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Title: Irradiation effects on Fe-Cr alloys
Author: Hu, Rong
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 3407
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Ferritic chromium steels are important structural materials for future nuclear fission and fusion reactors due to their advantages over traditional austenitic steels, including low swelling rates, better thermal fatigue resistance, and lower thermal expansion coefficients. Radiation-induced segregation or depletion (RIS/RID) of solute atoms at grain boundaries is considered to be a potentially significant phenomenon for structural materials because of its potentially detrimental role in affecting microstructure and furthermore mechanical properties. However, the behaviour of Cr at grain boundaries in ferritic steels is not well understood. Both segregation and depletion of Cr at grain boundary under irradiation have been previously observed and no clear dependency on irradiation condition or alloy type has been presented. Furthermore, ferritic alloys are known to undergo hardening and embrittlement after thermal aging in the temperature range of 300-550°C and this phenomenon is related with α and α' phase separation occurring in the solid solution. However the low temperature α-α' miscibility gap in the currently used phase diagram is extrapolated from high temperature results and conflicts with many experimental observations. To understand the Cr behaviour at grain boundaries in ferritic steels under irradiation, a systematic approach combining SEM/EBSD, FIB specimen preparation and APT analysis has been developed and successfully applied to a Fe-15.2at%Cr to investigate the effect of pre-irradiation chemistry, grain boundary misorientation, impurities, irradiation damage, irradiation depth, and other possible factors to get a better understanding of RIS/RID phenomena. Both low sigma boundaries and randomly selected high angle boundaries have been investigated in detail. Systematic differences between the behaviour of different classes of boundaries had been observed, and the operating mechanisms are also discussed in this thesis. The maximum separation method has been applied on APT data to study the C- enriched clusters and Cr-enriched clusters, which were not directly visible on the atom maps. The composition of the Cr-enriched clusters was consistent with α' phase and the irradiation was found to accelerate the nucleation rather than the growth of these clusters. Such results provided important information in re-determining the α-α' phase boundary.
Supervisor: Smith, George D. W. ; Hyde, Jonathan ; Marquis, Emmanuelle Sponsor: Chinese Ministry of Education ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Materials Sciences ; Field Ion Microscopy ; Atomic scale structure and properties