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Title: Liquid in situ analytical TEM : technique development and applications to austenitic stainless steel
Author: Schilling, Sibylle
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 1982
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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Environmentally-assisted cracking (EAC) phenomena affect the in-service behaviour of austenitic stainless steels in nuclear power plants. EAC includes such degradation phenomena as Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) and Corrosion Fatigue (CF). Factors affecting EAC include the material type, microstructure, environment, and stress. This is an important degradation issue for both current and Gen III+ light water reactors, particularly as nuclear power plant lifetimes are extended ( > 60 years). Thus, it is important to understand the behaviour of the alloys used in light water reactors, and phenomena such as SCC to avoid failures. Although there is no agreement on the mechanism(s) of SCC, the importance of localized electrochemical reactions at the material surface is widely recognised. Considerable research has been performed on SCC and CF crack growth, but the initiation phenomena are not fully understood. In this project, novel in situ analytical TEM techniques have been developed and applied to explore localised reactions in Type 304 austenitic stainless steel. In situ transmission electron microscopy has become an increasingly important and dynamic research area in materials science with the advent of unique microscope platforms and a range of specialized in situ specimen holders. In metals research, the ability to image and perform X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XED) analyses of metals in liquids are particularly important for detailed study of the metal-environment interactions with specific microstructural features. To further facilitate such studies a special hybrid specimen preparation technique involving electropolishing and FIB extraction has been developed in this thesis to enable metal specimens to be examined in the liquid cell TEM specimen holder using both distilled H2O and H2SO4 solutions. Furthermore, a novel electrode configuration has been designed to permit the localized electrochemical measurement of electron-transparent specimens in the TEM. These novel approaches have been benchmarked by extensive ex situ experiments, including both conventional electrochemical measurements and microcell measurements. The results are discussed in terms of validation of in situ test data as well as the role of the electron beam in the experiments. In situ liquid cell TEM experiments have also explored the localized dissolution of MnS inclusions in H2O, and correlated the behaviour with ex situ experiments. Based on the research performed in this thesis, in situ liquid cell and in situ electrochemical cell experiments can be used to study nanoscale reactions pertaining to corrosion and localized dissolution leading to "precursor" events for subsequent EAC phenomena.
Supervisor: Burke, Mary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: In Situ TEM ; Liquid TEM ; TEM electrochemical cell ; Analytical Transmission Electron Microscopy ; Focus Ion Beam ; FIB ; Specimen Preparation ; Specimen Preparation Technique ; X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy ; Austenitic Stainless Steel ; MnS inclusions ; dissolution ; microanalysis ; Beam-heating ; Cerrolow 117