SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2001

Fracture Toughness Characterization of 304L and 316L Austenitic Stainless Steels and Alloy 718 After Irradiation in High-Energy, Mixed Proton/Neutron Spectrum


This paper describes the fracture toughness characterization of annealed 304L and 316L stainless steels and precipitation hardened Alloy 718, performed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a part of the experimental design and development for the Accelerator Production of Tritium (APT) target/blanket system. Materials were irradiated at 25 to 200°C by high-energy protons and neutrons from an 800-MeV, 1-mA proton beam at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). The proton flux produced in LANSCE is nearly prototypic of anticipated conditions for significant portions of the APT target/blanket system. The objective of this testing program was to determine the change in crack-extension resistance of candidate APT materials from irradiation at prototypic APT temperatures and proton and neutron fluxes. J-integral-resistance (J-R) curve toughness tests were conducted in general accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials Standard Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness, E 1820-99, with a computer-controlled test and data acquisition system. J-R curves were obtained from subsize disk-shaped compact tension specimens (12.5 mm in diameter) with thicknesses of 4 mm or 2 mm. Irradiation up to 12 dpa significantly reduced the fracture toughness of these materials. Alloy 718 had the lowest fracture toughness in both the unirradiated and irradiated conditions. All irradiated specimens of Alloy 718 failed by sudden unstable crack extension regardless of dose or test temperature. Type 304L and 316L stainless steels had a high level of fracture toughness in the unirradiated condition and exhibited reduction in fracture toughness to saturation levels of 65 to 100 MPa√m. The present reduction in fracture toughness is similar to changes reported from fission reactor studies. However, the currently observed losses in toughness appear to saturate at doses slightly lower than the dose required for saturation in reactor-irradiated steels. This difference might be attributed to the increased helium and hydrogen production associated with irradiation in the high-energy, mixed proton/neutron spectrum.

Author Information

Sokolov, MA
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Robertson, JP
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Snead, LL
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Alexander, DJ
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Ferguson, P
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
James, MR
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Maloy, SA
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Sommer, WF
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Willcutt, G
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
Louthan, MR
Westinghouse Savannah River Technology Center, Aiken, SC
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Developed by Committee: E10
Pages: 125–147
DOI: 10.1520/STP10530S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5454-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2878-1