This work assesses the potential of proton irradiation to simulate the neutron damage to the matrix and laves phase Zr(Fe,Cr)2 precipitates in Zircaloy-4. Isothermal proton irradiation has been performed on Zircaloy-4 samples at irradiation temperatures ranging from 250 to 350 °C. Two-step proton irradiation was also performed to enhance the amorphization of and iron loss from the laves phase Zr(Fe,Cr)2 precipitates. The irradiated microstructures, including dislocation loops and rafts near SPPs, were observed in proton irradiated Zircaloy-4, which are consistent with neutron irradiated material at a similar damage level. The amount of irradiation-induced hardening after proton irradiation was similar to post neutron irradiated data. The significant amorphization of the SPPs and concurrent Fe redistribution observed on neutron irradiated materials can be effectively emulated using a two-step proton irradiation on Zircaloy-4. Hence, the neutron irradiation effect on Zircaloy-4 can be mostly captured using the two-step proton irradiation described in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering