FeCrAl ferritic alloys are excellent cladding candidates for accident tolerant fuel systems due to their high resistance to oxidation as a result of formation of a protective Al2O3 scale at high temperatures in steam. In this study, we report the irradiation response of the 10Cr and 13Cr FeCrAl cladding tubes under Fe2+ ion irradiation up to ∼16 dpa at 300 °C. Dislocation loop size, density and characteristics were determined using both two-beam bright field transmission electron microscopy and on-zone scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques. 10Cr (C06M2) tube has a lower dislocation density, larger grain size and a slightly weaker texture compared to the 13Cr (C36M3) tube before irradiation. After irradiation to 0.7 dpa and 16 dpa, the fraction of <100> type sessile dislocations decreases with increasing Cr amount in the alloys. It has been found that there is neither void formation nor α′ precipitation as a result of ion irradiations in either alloy. Therefore, dislocation loops were determined to be the only irradiation induced defects contributing to the hardening. Nanoindentation testing before the irradiation revealed that the average nanohardness of the C36M3 tube is higher than that of the C06M2 tube. The average nanohardness of irradiated tube samples saturated at 1.6–2.0 GPa hardening for both tubes between ∼3.4 dpa and ∼16 dpa. The hardening calculated based on transmission electron microscopy was found to be consistent with nanohardness measurements.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Yukinori Yamamoto, Kevin Field and Kurt Terrani of Oak Ridge National Laboratory for providing the tube material for these studies. Moreover, authors appreciate Dr. Di Chen's and Mr. Matthew Chancey's help with ion irradiations. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Los Alamos National Laboratory, an affirmative action equal opportunity employer, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC52-06NA25396 .
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