2022 journal article

The mechanism behind the high radiation tolerance of Fe-Cr alloys


co-author countries: Germany 🇩🇪 United States of America 🇺🇸
Source: Web Of Science
Added: May 2, 2022

Fe–Cr alloys are at the forefront for high radiation tolerant materials with long-standing validated performance. Yet, the detailed mechanism behind their high radiation resistance is in question and understanding the effect of varying Cr percentage is a grand challenge limiting further improvements. Here, we applied depth-resolved positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy and Doppler broadening spectroscopy to study the effect of Cr alloying on the formation and evolution of atomic size clusters induced by ion-irradiation in Fe. We also used atom probe tomography to investigate the possible presence of Cr clusters or α′ phase precipitates with high Cr composition. The study reveals that the well-known resistance to radiation in Fe–Cr alloys may arise from the stabilization of vacancy clusters around Cr atoms, which act as sinks for radiation-induced defects. This implies that Cr atoms do not provide a direct sink for interstitials; rather defect complexes that consist of Cr atoms and vacancies, in turn, act as sinks for irradiation-induced vacancies and interstitials. we also find that lower amounts of Cr create smaller defect clusters that act as efficient sinks for radiation damage, but larger quantities of Cr form a defect structure that is less homogenous and larger in size, resulting in less efficient damage recombination. No evidence of α′ was found before or after irradiation, which indicates that it does not contribute to the observed radiation tolerance.