Volume 1, Issue 9 (October 2004)
Properties of 20% Cold-Worked 316 Stainless Steel Irradiated at Low Dose Rate
To assess the effects of long-term, low-dose-rate neutron exposure, tensile, hardness, and fracture properties were measured, and microstructural characterization was performed on irradiated 20% cold-worked Type 316 stainless steel. Samples were prepared from reactor core components retrieved from the EBR-II reactor following final shutdown. Sample locations were chosen to cover a dose range of 1–56 dpa at temperatures from 371–390°C and dose rates from 0.8–3.3 × 10−7 dpa/s. Irradiation caused hardening, with the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) reaching about 800 MPa near 20 dpa and appearing to saturate at higher doses. The yield strength (YS) follows approximately the same trend as the ultimate tensile strength. The work-hardening capability of the material decreases with increasing dose. While the material retained respectable ductility at 20 dpa, the uniform and total elongation decreased to <1 and <3%, respectively, at 47 dpa. Fracture in the 30 dpa specimen is mainly ductile but with local regions of mixed-mode failure, consisting mainly of dimples and microvoids. The fracture surface of the higher-exposure 47 dpa specimen displays more brittle features. Changes in yield strength predicted from the microstructural components are roughly consistent with the measured changes in yield strength.