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Studies of the effects of neutron irradiation on precipitation-hardening alloys have been carried out on a large number of different alloy systems. Most of this work has been concerned with radiation-induced precipitation from supersaturated solid solutions. “Irradiation aging” was observed in copper-beryllium alloys at room temperature and in nickel-beryllium alloys at 300 C. With these experiments as a basis, Murray and Taylor (1) have suggested prerequisites for irradiation aging which involve the atomic number of the principal constituent of the alloy, the activation energy of diffusion, and the critical particle size. Kernohan, Billington, and Lewis (2) suggested that the neutron irradiation caused precipitation by accelerating diffusion through the introduction of vacancies and interstitials.
Comparatively few experiments have been carried out on the effects of neutron irradiation on aged alloys. Work by Denny (3) and Boltax (4) on copper-iron alloys has demonstrated that high energy particle irradiation cian cause re-solution of precipitate particles. The results indicate that the radation-induced re-solution is dependent upon precipitate particle size. Experimental results obtained on the uranium-molybdenum alloys give further evidence for re-solution or homogenization by neutron irradiation.
Nuclear Metals, Inc., Cambridge, Mass