The Correlation Between Microstructure and Nanoindentation Property of Neutron-Irradiated Austenitic Alloy D9

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The microstructure and nanomechanical properties of three samples of the modified stainless steel (referred as the alloy D9) were systematically characterized after neutron irradiation in the Advanced Test Reactor. The samples were irradiated to 5.0, 8.2, and 9.2 displacements per atom at 448, 430, and 683°C, respectively. The evolutions of dislocation loops, cavities, and radiation-induced precipitates were quantitatively studied to reveal their dose and temperature dependencies. Nanohardness and nanoindentation creep tests were conducted at room temperature on the irradiated samples. Unexpected radiation hardening was observed in the highest-temperature-irradiated sample due to the formation of an unknown type of Ni- and Si-rich precipitates whose contributions to the radiation and mechanical performances of the alloy were discussed. We provide the radiation-microstructure-property correlations of alloy D9 with new insights, which can benefit the development and optimization of advanced austenitic alloys for future nuclear applications.