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Mechanical Properties of Additively Manufactured 316L Stainless Steel Before and After Neutron Irradiation–FY23

by Thak Sang Byun, Jesse W Werden, Annabelle G Le Coq, Timothy G Lach, Kory D Linton
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

This report presents the observed mechanical behavior of the additively manufactured (AM) 316L stainless steel (SS) before and after neutron irradiation. In the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies (AMMT) program, a variety of mechanical and physical property data are generated and accumulated to assess the AM austenitic alloy for nuclear reactor applications. The testing and evaluation task in the FY 2023 focused on elucidating the effects of sampling location and build size on the mechanical properties of AM 316L SS (in stress-relieved condition) before and after neutron irradiation. The laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process produced 316L plates of three distinct sizes from which SS-J3 miniature tensile specimens were machined from six different locations. The tensile specimens were irradiated in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) normally to 2 and 10 dpa at the target temperatures of 300 °C and 600 °C. Post-irradiation tensile testing was performed at room temperature, 300 °C, and 600 °C. The mechanical properties of AM 316L SS were significantly influenced by the characteristic microstructures of printed materials, which include fine grains and high-density dislocations. Compared with the traditional 316L SS, AM 316L showed higher initial strength and lower ductility. Regardless of sampling location, the AM 316L steel retained relatively high strength and ductility to the highest irradiation dose. A prompt necking at yield (with little uniform ductility) was observed after irradiation at 300 °C but no embrittlement was observed up to 10 dpa. Ductilization by irradiation–the radiation-induced increase of ductility–was observed for the 600 °C irradiation only and it occurred in low dose range only. The neutron irradiation increased the data variation in many tensile property datasets, particularly after 600 °C irradiation, and no clear dependence of tensile properties on build thickness or sampling location was observed.