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Cavity Swelling in Irradiated Materials...

by Arunodaya Bhattacharya, Steven J Zinkle
Publication Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
Page Numbers
406 to 455
Publisher Name
Comprehensive Nuclear Materials, Elsevier
Publisher Location
Oxford, United Kingdom

Cavity swelling, due to three-dimensional clustering of vacancies, is an undesirable isotropic volume expansion of materials under irradiation. This phenomenon occurs above stage-III recovery temperature where vacancies are mobile, between ~0.3–0.6 Tm where Tm is the absolute melting temperature. The primary mechanism for cavity swelling is “dislocation bias”, i.e., preferential absorption of interstitials by network dislocations, causing a vacancy supersaturation. Cavity swelling is highly temperature dependent and typically follows a bell-shaped curve with peak swelling occurring at an intermediate temperature. With increasing temperature, cavity size increases, and number density decreases logarithmically. With increasing dose, cavity swelling increases, but follows a hockey-stick type pattern, characterized by a low-swelling transient incubation period and then a steady-state regime. The incubation period, dominant in cavity nucleation, is dependent upon material’s chemistry and irradiation conditions such as dose rate/temperature. Cavity swelling increases linearly with dose in the steady-state regime, that is independent of chemistry and dose rate. This regime is dominated by cavity growth. Transmutation gases like He enhance cavity nucleation such that an early onset of cavity formation occurs. However, swelling magnitudes can be either increased or suppressed when He is present. Results in austenitic steels and Cu indicate that cavity swelling peaks at intermediate He/dpa ratios of ~10 appm He/dpa. The most effective method to mitigate cavity swelling is by increasing the fixed point-defect sink density, by promoting precipitation or dispersion strengthening.