Mechanical Alloying of Lanthana-Bearing Nanostructured Ferritic Steels

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A novel nanostructured ferritic steel powder with the nominal composition Fe–14Cr–1Ti–0.3Mo–0.5La2O3 (wt.%) was developed via high energy ball milling. La2O3 was added to this alloy instead of the traditionally used Y2O3. The effects of varying the ball milling parameters, such as milling time, steel ball size and ball to powder ratio, on the mechanical properties and microstructural characteristics of the as-milled powder were investigated. Nanocrystallites of a body-centered cubic ferritic solid solution matrix with a mean size of approximately 20 nm were observed by transmission electron microscopy. Nanoscale characterization of the as-milled powder by local electrode atom probe tomography revealed the formation of Cr–Ti–La–O-enriched nanoclusters during mechanical alloying. The Cr:Ti:La:O ratio is considered “non-stoichiometric”. The average size (radius) of the nanoclusters was about 1 nm, with number density of 3.7 × 1024 m−3. The mechanism for formation of nanoclusters in the as-milled powder is discussed. La2O3 appears to be a promising alternative rare earth oxide for future nanostructured ferritic steels.