Development of Fe-9Cr Alloy via High-Energy Ball Milling and Spark Plasma Sintering

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Iron and chromium powders were mixed and mechanically alloyed via high-energy ball milling for different time durations (2–20 h) to produce an alloy powder with a nominal composition of Fe-9Cr (wt.%). The milled Fe-9Cr powders were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to understand the impact of ball milling (BM) time on the characteristics of the milled powder. The optimized milled powder samples were then consolidated via spark plasma sintering (SPS) for different dwell times and temperatures. The density of consolidated samples was found to reach a maximum of 98%. Microstructural characterization of the SPS samples were performed using XRD, SEM, TEM and electron backscatter diffraction. This study highlights the principles and importance of high-energy BM and SPS of Fe-9Cr model alloy for the future development of more complex oxide dispersion-strengthened alloys for various applications including advanced nuclear reactor applications.