Mechanical Behavior of AISI 304SS Determined by Miniature Test Methods After Neutron Irradiation to 28 dpa

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The mechanical properties of AISI 304 stainless steel irradiated for over a decade in the Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) were measured using miniature mechanical testing methods. The shear punch method was used to evaluate the shear strengths of the neutron-irradiated steel and a correlation factor was empirically determined to predict its tensile strength. The strength of the stainless steel slightly decreased with increasing irradiation temperature, and significantly increased with increasing dose until it saturated above approximately 5 dpa. An effective tensile strain hardening exponent was also obtained from the data which shows a relative decrease in ductility of steel with increased irradiation damage. Ferromagnetic measurements were used to observe and deduce the effects of the stress-induced austenite to martensite transformation as a result of shear punch testing.