The High Voltage Electron Microscope (HVEM)/Tandem facility at Argonne National Laboratory has been used to conduct detailed studies of the phase stability and microstructural evolution in zirconium alloys and compounds under ion and electron irradiation. Detailed kinetic studies of the crystalline-to-amorphous transformation of the intermetallic compounds Zr3(Fe1-x,Nix), Zr(Fe1-x,Crx)2, Zr3Fe, and Zr1.5Nb1.5Fe, both as second phase precipitates and in bulk form, have been performed using the in situ capabilities of the Argonne facility under a variety of irradiation conditions (temperature, dose rate). Results include a verification of a dose rate effect on amorphization and the influence of material variables (stoichiometry x, presence of stacking faults, crystal structure) on the critical temperature and on the critical dose for amorphization.
Studies were also conducted of the microstructural evolution under irradiation of specially tailored binary and ternary model alloys. The stability of the ω-phase in Zr-20%Nb under electron and Ar ion irradiation was investigated as well as the β-phase precipitation in Zr-2.5%Nb under Ar ion irradiation. The ensemble of these results is discussed in terms of theoretical models of amorphization and of irradiation-altered solubility.