Deformation-Assisted Rejuvenation of Irradiation-Induced Phase Instabilities in Cu-Ta Heterophase Nanocomposite

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The objective of this study is to determine the effects of coupled deformation and irradiation extremes on Ta phase evolution in Cu-10at.%Ta nanocomposite. Heterophase nanocomposites with positive heat of mixing offer exceptional mechanical properties, high temperature performance, and irradiation tolerance. Here, we consider cooperative effects of irradiation and deformation on phase stability using transmission electron microscopy phase mapping during interrupted in situ indentation. Following irradiation-induced dissolution of Ta nanoparticles, deformation-induced Ta nanoparticle nucleation and growth occur along grain boundaries. This result shows promise that irradiation and deformation may be coupled to stabilize or rejuvenate Ta nanoparticles in extreme environments.