Small-Scale Mechanical Testing on Proton Beam-Irradiated 304 SS from Room Temperature to Reactor Operation Temperature
Austenitic stainless steels are common structural components in light water reactors. Because reactor components are subjected to harsh conditions such as high operating temperatures and neutron radiation, they can undergo irradiation-induced embrittlement and related failure, which compromises reliable operation. Small-scale mechanical testing has seen widespread use as a testing method for both ion- and reactor-irradiated materials because it allows access to the mechanical properties of the ion beam-irradiated region, and for safe handling of a small amount of activated material. In this study, nanoindentation and microcompression testing were performed on unirradiated and 10 dpa proton-irradiated 304 SS, from 25°C to 300°C. Increases in yield stress (YS), critical resolved shear stress (CRSS) and hardness (H) were seen in the irradiated region relative to the unirradiated region. Relationships between H, YS, and CRSS of irradiated and unirradiated materials are discussed over this temperature range.
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