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Irradiation hardening and ductility loss of Eurofer97 steel variants after neutron irradiation to ITER-TBM relevant condition...

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Fusion Engineering and Design
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Ten Eurofer97 steel variants, produced by non-standard fabrication-processing routes and modified alloying chemistries, were studied by neutron irradiations in the high flux isotope reactor. The irradiations were performed to ITER-TBM relevant conditions of ∼255–350 °C, 2.94–3.24 dpa. We quantified the irradiation-induced degradation of the steels using mechanical property tests. All the steels suffered from irradiation hardening, where a significant increase in Vickers microhardness and yield stress (σYS) occurred, accompanied with severe loss of tensile elongation. The extent of hardening was material dependent. For Tirr = 300±30 °C, most steels showed σYS increase in the range of ∼30% to as high as ∼66%, except for a low temperature tempered steel with σYS increase below 15%. Despite large losses in elongation, most failures were ductile. Significant post-necking ductility was retained with reduction in area (RA) between 65–75%, but <50% for low temperature tempered steels. The ultimate tensile stress to yield stress (σUTS/σYS) ratios decreased significantly after irradiation, highlighting irradiation-induced strain hardening capacity reduction. No major effect of irradiation on the plastic instability stress (σPIS) and true fracture stress of the steels was observed. By comparing the tensile stresses in true stress units and with literature, the results suggest that RAFM steel designing should target materials with a large separation between σPIS and σYS, to ensure the materials can maintain large work hardening and uniform deformation capability after irradiation. The tensile data of the steels additionally revealed a compelling evidence of an inverse trend between the change in RA and increase in σYS of the neutron irradiated Eurofer97 type steels.