Skip to main content

Effect of heavy ion irradiation dose rate and temperature on α′ precipitation in high purity Fe-18%Cr alloy...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Acta Materialia
Publication Date
Page Number

Cr-rich alpha prime precipitates (CrRP) induce hardening and embrittlement of FeCr alloys, but the kinetics of CrRP formation due to particle irradiation are not well understood. In this study, Fe18wt.%Cr alloy in solid solution state and pre-aged to produce relatively coarse CrRP was irradiated with 8 MeV Fe ions. The irradiation conditions involved two midrange doses of 0.37 and 3.7 displacements per atom (dpa), a wide range of dose rates (10−5–10−3 dpa/s) and temperatures (300–450 °C). The distributions of CrRP after irradiation were studied with atom probe tomography (APT). The critical irradiation conditions to suppress CrRP formation were identified as 300 °C and 10−3 dpa/s; CrRP formation occurred readily at lower dose rates or higher temperatures. From 0.37 to 3.7 dpa, CrRP were observed to slightly grow at 350 °C and strongly coarsen at 450 °C. Specimens with pre-existing CrRP evolved into a similar precipitate distribution as detected after ion irradiation on solution annealed specimens at 300–350 °C to 0.37 dpa, indicating that the precipitate microstructure approaches a quasi-equilibrium for doses <1 dpa. Limited shrinking of pre-existing CrRP was observed after irradiation at 450 °C to 0.37 dpa, indicating a higher recovery rate at this temperature. The evolution of CrRP is quantitatively explained by employing corrections to the historic Nelson-Hudson-Mazey precipitate stability model, and a radiation modified precipitation mechanism is proposed to account for the competition between radiation enhanced diffusion and ballistic dissolution which results in the modifications on both size and solute concentration of CrRP.