Standard Active Last Updated: Aug 01, 2022
ASTM E521-16

Standard Practice for Investigating the Effects of Neutron Radiation Damage Using Charged-Particle Irradiation

Significance and Use

4.1 A characteristic advantage of charged-particle irradiation experiments is precise, individual, control over most of the important irradiation conditions such as dose, dose rate, temperature, and quantity of gases present. Additional attributes are the lack of induced radioactivation of specimens and, in general, a substantial compression of irradiation time, from years to hours, to achieve comparable damage as measured in displacements per atom (dpa). An important application of such experiments is the investigation of radiation effects that may be obtained in environments which do not currently exist, such as fusion reactors.

4.2 The primary shortcoming of ion bombardments stems from the damage rate, or temperature dependences of the microstructural evolutionary processes in complex alloys, or both. It cannot be assumed that the time scale for damage evolution can be comparably compressed for all processes by increasing the displacement rate, even with a corresponding shift in irradiation temperature. In addition, the confinement of damage production to a thin layer just (often 1 μm) below the irradiated surface can present substantial complications. It must be emphasized, therefore, that these experiments and this practice are intended for research purposes and not for the certification or the qualification of materials.

4.3 This practice relates to the generation of irradiation-induced changes in the microstructure of metals and alloys using charged particles. The investigation of mechanical behavior using charged particles is covered in Practice E821.


1.1 This practice provides guidance on performing charged-particle irradiations of metals and alloys, although many of the methods may also be applied to ceramic materials. It is generally confined to studies of microstructural and microchemical changes induced by ions of low-penetrating power that come to rest in the specimen. Density changes can be measured directly and changes in other properties can be inferred. This information can be used to estimate similar changes that would result from neutron irradiation. More generally, this information is of value in deducing the fundamental mechanisms of radiation damage for a wide range of materials and irradiation conditions.

1.2 Where it appears, the word “simulation” should be understood to imply an approximation of the relevant neutron irradiation environment for the purpose of elucidating damage mechanisms. The degree of conformity can range from poor to nearly exact. The intent is to produce a correspondence between one or more aspects of the neutron and charged particle irradiations such that fundamental relationships are established between irradiation or material parameters and the material response.

1.3 The practice appears as follows:





Specimen Preparation

  5 – 10

Irradiation Techniques (including Helium Injection)


Damage Calculations


Postirradiation Examination

14 – 16

Reporting of Results


Correlation and Interpretation

18 – 22

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

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Book of Standards Volume: 12.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05
Pages: 21
DOI: 10.1520/E0521-16
ICS Code: 27.120.10