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A spallation neutron source for the 600-MeV proton accelerator facility at the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research (SIN) consists of a vertical cylinder filled with molten Pb-Bi. The proton beam enters the cylinder, passing upward through a window in contact with the Pb-Bi eutectic liquid that must retain reasonable strength and ductility upon irradiation at about 673 K to fluence of about 1 × 1025 protons/m2.
Investigations are underway at the 800-MeV proton accelerator at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF) to test the performance of candidate SIN window materials under appropriate conditions of temperature, irradiation, and environment. Based on considerations of chemical compatibility with molten Pb-Bi, as well as interest in identifying fundamental radiation damage mechanisms, Fe, Ta, Fe-2.25Cr-1Mo, and Fe-12Cr-1Mo (HT-9) were chosen as candidate materials.
Sheet tensile samples, 0.5-mm thick, of the four materials were fabricated and heat treated. The samples were sealed inside capsules containing Pb-Bi and were proton-irradiated at LAMPF to two fluences, 4.8 and 54 × 1023 p/m2. The beam current was approximately equal to the 1 mA anticipated for the upgraded SIN accelerator. The power deposited by the proton beam in the capsules was sufficient to maintain sample temperatures of about 673 K. Post-irradiation tensile tests were conducted at room temperature at a strain rate of 9 × 10−4s−1. The yield and ultimate strengths increased upon irradiation in all materials, while the ductility decreased, as indicated by the uniform strain. The pure metals, Ta and Fe, exhibited the greatest radiation hardening and embrittlement. The HT-9 alloy showed the smallest changes in strength and ductility.
The increase in strength following irradiation is discussed in terms of a dispersed-barrier hardening model, for which the barrier sizes and formation cross sections are calculated.
accelerator, ferritic steels, iron, proton irradiation, tantalum, tension test
Staff member, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Professor of materials science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research,