An Fe-9Cr-2W-0.25V-0.07Ta-0.1C (9Cr-2WVTa) steel has a smaller prior-austenite grain size than this same composition without tantalum (9Cr-2WV) when the steels are given a similar heat treatment. Except for prior-austenite grain size, the microstructures of the steels are similar before irradiation, and they develop similar changes in microstructure during irradiation. Nevertheless, the 9Cr-2WVTa shows less effect of irradiation on the Charpy behavior. To determine the effect of grain size on the Charpy properties of the 9Cr-2WV and 9Cr-2WVTa, specimens of the two steels were given various normalization heat treatments to produce different prior austenite grain sizes, and the tensile and impact properties were determined. For the smaller prior-austenite grain sizes, the 9Cr-2WV steel had impact properties similar to or better than those of the 9Cr-2WVTa steel. Differences in the microstructures of the steels were used to explain the observations and what they mean for developing steels with improved properties.
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