Microstructural characteristics and embrittlement phenomena in neutron irradiated 309L stainless steel RPV clad

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The effects of neutron irradiation on the microstructural features and mechanical properties of 309L stainless steel RPV clad were investigated using TEM, SEM, small tensile, microhardness and small punch (SP) tests. The neutron irradiations were performed at 290 degreesC up to the fluences of 5.1 x 10(18) and 1.02 x 10(19) n/cm(2) (>1 MeV) in Japan Materials Testing Reactor (JMTR). The microstructure of the clad before and after irradiation was composed of main part of fcc austenite, a few percent of bee delta-ferrite and small amount of brittle sigma phase. After irradiation, not only the yield stress and microhardness, but SP ductile to brittle transition temperature (SP-DBTT) were increased. However, the increase in SP-DBTT is almost saturated, independent of the neutron fluence. Based on the TEM observation, the origin of irradiation hardening was accounted for by the irradiation-produced defect clusters of invisible fine size (< 1-2 nm), and the shift of SP-DBTT was primary due to the higher hardening and the preferential failure of delta-ferrite. The embrittlement of the clad was strongly affected by the initial microstructural factors, such as the amount of brittle a phase, which caused a cracking even in an early stage of deformation. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Publisher
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Issue Date
2004-03
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

SIGMA-PHASE EMBRITTLEMENT; SMALL PUNCH TEST; MARTENSITIC STEEL; EVOLUTION; DAMAGE; FRACTURE; TEMPERATURE; AUSTENITE; METALS; WELDS

Citation

JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS, v.326, no.1, pp.38 - 46

ISSN
0022-3115
DOI
10.1016/j.jnucmat.2003.11.005
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/82931
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