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Characterization of mechanical properties and deformation behavior of highly irradiated 316L stainless steel from target modu...

by David A Mcclintock, Maxim N Gussev, Cody Campbell, Wei Lu
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Journal of Nuclear Materials
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Tensile specimens with irradiation doses ranging from approximately 0.7 to 7.6 displacements per atom (dpa) were fabricated from 316L samples removed from Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) target vessels after service. Tensile tests were performed in conjunction with digital image correlation (DIC) characterization, which permitted detailed analysis of the strain distribution and deformation behavior of the specimen gauge sections during testing. The results show, while considerable hardening (500–700 MPa increase in yield strength) occurred in the 316L SNS target material with increasing dose, appreciable ductility (19–23% total elongation) remained in the material after irradiation to 7.6 dpa in the mixed neutron/proton environment of the SNS target region. The DIC data showed the strain distribution and deformation behavior of all irradiated specimens were nonuniform during testing. Strain localization in the form of deformation bands or “hotspots” was observed during testing, and in some specimens, the bands propagated as deformation waves along the gauge section. The “traveling wave” deformation behavior affected the amount of elongation each specimen achieved, and the scatter in the elongation data was attributed to the large variation in deformation behavior observed among different specimens. Bands of localized strain, or deformation bands, oriented at specific angles were observed in two-dimensional plots of the strain distribution in the gauge sections of some specimens. This paper describes the experimental procedures, results, and deformation behavior of tensile specimens from SNS targets after service and illustrates the value of DIC characterization during tensile testing of irradiated materials.