Influence of post irradiation annealing on the mechanical properties and defect structure of AISI 304 steel

    Research outputpeer-review


    The effect of post irradiation annealing on the mechanical properties and the radiation induced defect structure was investigated on stainless steel, of type AISI 304, that was irradiated up to 24 dpa in the decommissioned Chooz A reactor. The material was investigated both in the as-irradiated state as well as after post irradiation annealing. In the as-irradiated specimen the typical radiation induced defects were found as well as y'-precipitates (Ni3Si). Annealing at 400°C had almost no effect on the radiation induced defects, but annealing at 500°C resulted in the immediate unfaulting of the Frank loops. As to the mechanical properties, annealing at 400°C did not strongly affect the yield strength and the ductility of the material, although the fraction of intergranular fracture during slow strain rate tensile tests under pressurised water reactor conditions, was significantly reduced. Annealing at 500°C did reduce the yield strength and restored substantially the ductility and the strain hardening capability of the material. The microstructure investigated by transmission electron microscopy correlates to the mechanical test results. It was found that the observed defect changes after post irradiation annealing provide a reasonable explanation for the observed changes of the mechanical properties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-102
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - May 2011

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