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    Effects of Neutron Irradiation on the Microstructure and Microhardness of Niobium-Base Alloys

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    The microstructure and microhardness of several niobium-base binary and ternary alloys were investigated following fast neutron irradiation to a fluence of 18 dpa (4.8 × 1022 n/cm2, >0.1 MeV) at 650°C. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) procedures were employed to observe the microstructure of the alloy specimens following neutron irradiation and in the unirradiated condition. Microhardness measurements were made on irradiated and unirradiated specimens to obtain information on the effects of irradiation on mechanical properties. Neutron irradiation of the Nb-1Mo and Nb-5Mo-1Zr alloys produced voids and a high density of dislocation loops. No voids were observed in the irradiated Nb-1Zr alloy. Microhardness measurements of the irradiated alloys indicated that the effect of the fast neutron irradiation was to increase the microhardness of all the niobium-base alloys. The magnitude of the microhardness increase was found to be a function of the alloy composition, with the smallest increase observed in the Nb-5Mo-1Zr alloy. The observations in this study are in agreement with the previous work, which has shown that molybdenum and zirconium additions were effective in suppressing void formation in niobium-base alloys for irradiation temperatures up to ≈1100°C.


    radiation, irradiation, refractory metals, niobium, electron microscopy, radiation effects, microhardness, voids

    Author Information:

    Michel, DJ
    Metallurgists, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

    Smith, HH
    Metallurgists, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

    Committee/Subcommittee: E10.07

    DOI: 10.1520/STP33841S