Microstructural Evolution of Type 304 and 316 Stainless Steels Under Neutron Irradiation at LWR Relevant Conditions


Life extension of light water reactors will expose austenitic internal core components to irradiation damage levels beyond 100 displacements per atom (dpa), leading to profound microstructural evolution and consequent degradation of macroscopic properties. Microstructural evolution, including Frank loops, cavities, precipitates, and segregation at boundaries and the resultant radiation hardening in type 304 and 316 stainless steel (SS) variants were studied in this work via experimental characterization and multiple simulation methods. Experimental data for up to 40 heats of type 304SS and 316SS variants irradiated in different reactors to 0.6–120 dpa at 275–375°C were generated from this work or collected from literature reports. These experimental data were then combined with models of Frank loop and cavity evolution, computational thermodynamics and precipitation, and ab initio and rate theory integrated radiation-induced segregation models to provide insights into microstructural evolution and degradation at higher doses.

In: Jom, pp. 517–529