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Combined effect of injected interstitials and He implantation, and cavities inside dislocation loops in high purity Fe-Cr all...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Nuclear Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
30 to 44

High purity Fe-Cr alloys with Cr content ranging from 3 to 14 wt% were irradiated by self-ions at 500 °C in dual-beam mode up to 157 displacements per atom (dpa), 17 appm He/dpa. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) on focused ion beam foils revealed the depth distribution of irradiation induced cavities and dislocation loops. A detailed quantitative analysis of cavity microstructure was performed on Fe14%Cr, while Fe(3, 5, 10, 12)%Cr were analysed qualitatively. A homogeneous distribution of small cavities were observed up to the damage peak. From surface to the damage peak, cavity number density increased almost linearly. The cavity microstructure changed drastically at and after the damage peak, where the size increased and number density decreased. Most notably, the microstructure consisted of a striking mixture of heterogeneously nucleated cavities inside dislocation loops and freely nucleated cavities in the matrix. Further, the depth-dependent void swelling increased continuously along the damage depth. This contrasts with most ion irradiation results where suppression of void swelling occurs adjacent to the damage peak due the injected interstitial effect. We hypothesize a plausible mechanism of the observed swelling variation based on a combined effect of the injected interstitials and helium implantation near the damage peak by comparing the results with those in pure iron irradiated under same conditions. This synergistic effect may develop cavity microstructures which do not necessarily reflect microstructures expected due to injected interstitial effect and can be easily wrongly interpreted. The depth dependent dislocation loop microstructure was studied qualitatively in Fe14%Cr sample. Up to the damage peak, a complex dense network of dislocations formed due to the interaction/impingement of the dislocation loops. Individually resolvable loops were only observed after the damage peak, where their association with cavities was noted. Helium also induced heterogeneous cavity nucleation on dislocations constituting a grain boundary and on pre-existing dislocation lines.