The effect of neutron irradiation on tensile properties and fracture mode has been investigated for several advanced CuCrZr alloys in the frame of the European fusion material development program. Five material grades utilizing different strengthening principles have been exposed to neutron irradiation up to ∼2.5 dpa (displacement per atom) in the target operational temperature range of 150–450 °C. The strengthening mechanisms are based on the application of: i) tungsten particles; ii) tungsten foils (laminate structure); iii) tungsten fibers; iv) Y2O3 particles; v) vanadium addition (0.22%). Neutron irradiation was performed in the BR2 material test reactor inside the fuel channel in order to maximize the fast neutron flux. The upper irradiation temperature of 450 °C was selected to validate the ability of the pre-selected advanced grades to sustain the high temperature irradiation, since the baseline ITER specification CuCrZr is known not to retain sufficient tensile strength above 400 °C in non-irradiated conditions and shows strong irradiation induced softening above 300 °C. Neutron irradiation at 150 °C caused severe embrittlement of tungsten-copper laminates as well as a considerable reduction of the total elongation of all other grades. The irradiation at 450 °C led to the reduction of the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength (i.e. irradiation softening) in the vanadium-doped alloy similar to CuCrZr, while all other materials preserved or increased their strength (irradiation hardening). The fracture surfaces of the tested samples were analysed to investigate the modification of the deformation mechanisms in each particular case.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering