Void swelling can result in dimensional instability and undermine the safe operation of nuclear reactors. Current strategies to inhibit void swelling mainly focus on enhancing defect absorption and recombination by introducing high-density defect sinks. Complex concentrated solid-solution alloys (CSAs), including high-entropy alloys, can withstand severe radiation damage due to their inherent chemical complexity without interfaces. However, the underlying mechanisms for void suppression in CSAs are far from clear. In this research, we studied the void evolution with respect to irradiation depths, doses, and temperatures in equiatomic NiCoFeCr under 3 MeV Ni ion irradiations. At relatively low doses (16 and 54 displacements per atom, dpa), voids form mainly outside of the ion-damaged region, and void formation in the peak damage region is suppressed, leading to negligible swelling. However, with further increase of dose (86 up to 250 dpa), significant void growth occurs in the peak damage region and extended dislocation lines dominate instead of short dislocation lines and loops formed at lower doses. From 500 to 700 °C, the dislocation density decreases while dislocations grow. Although the overall void swelling increases dramatically from 500 to 580 °C at 54 dpa, void growth in the peak damage region is still suppressed. The transition from suppressed void growth to significant void swelling is attributed to dislocation evolution and local chemical inhomogeneity (enrichment of Fe/Cr in the matrix) at higher doses. Our study shows that controlling element diffusion and defect evolution through tuning chemical complexity can further enhance the swelling resistance of CSAs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)