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The onset of void swelling in AISI 316 can be correlated with the removal of the elements nickel and silicon into precipitate phases. This conclusion was reached earlier based on measurement of microscopic volumes and has now been confirmed by the use of bulk extraction and elemental analysis of precipitates formed during irradiation. It appears that the average level of nickel remaining in the alloy matrix can be used as an index to assess the degree of completion of the microchemical evolution.
The dependence of nickel removal on neutron flux and fluence, irradiation temperature, applied stress and preirradiation thermal-mechanical treatment is consistent with the behavior of swelling in response to these variables. It appears that at 400°C the microchemical evolution is very sluggish and still in progress at 14 × 1022 n/cm2 (E >0.1 MeV). This suggests that the swelling rate at low temperatures will continue to increase with fluence and will approach that measured at higher temperatures. This higher swelling rate can be realized for some temperature histories which accelerate the kinetics of phase evolution.
fast reactors, voids, swelling, precipitates, phase stability, microchemical evolution, nickel content
Fellow scientist, Westinghouse Hanford Company, Richland, WA
Metallurgist, Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID