Radiation Resistance of the U(Al, Si)₃ Alloy: Ion-Induced Disordering

Materials (Basel). 2018 Feb 2;11(2):228. doi: 10.3390/ma11020228.


During the exploitation of nuclear reactors, various U-Al based ternary intermetallides are formed in the fuel-cladding interaction layer. Structure and physical properties of these intermetallides determine the radiation resistance of cladding and, ultimately, the reliability and lifetime of the nuclear reactor. In current research, U(Al, Si)₃ composition was studied as a potential constituent of an interaction layer. Phase content of the alloy of an interest was ordered U(Al, Si)₃, structure of which was reported earlier, and pure Al (constituting less than 20 vol % of the alloy). This alloy was investigated prior and after the irradiation performed by Ar ions at 30 keV. The irradiation was performed on the transmission electron microscopy (TEM, JEOL, Japan) samples, characterized before and after the irradiation process. Irradiation induced disorder accompanied by stress relief. Furthermore, it was found that there is a dose threshold for disordering of the crystalline matter in the irradiated region. Irradiation at doses equal or higher than this threshold resulted in almost solely disordered phase. Using the program "Stopping and Range of Ions in Matter" (SRIM), the parameters of penetration of Ar ions into the irradiated samples were estimated. Based on these estimations, the dose threshold for ion-induced disordering of the studied material was assessed.

Keywords: U-Al-Si; disordering; ion-irradiation; structural defects; transmission electron microscopy.