Morphological and nanomechanical alteration of tungsten in extreme environments, like those in edge localized modes in nuclear fusion environments, up to 46.3 GWm−2 heat fluxes were experimentally simulated using electrothermal plasma. Surface and subsurface damage to the tungsten is seen mainly in the form of pore formation, cracks, and resolidified melt instabilities. Mirco voids, rosette-type microfeatures, core-shell structure, particle enrichment, and submicron channels all manifest in the damaged subsurface. The formation of voids in the subsurface was determined to originate from the ductile fracture of hot tungsten by plastic flow but not developed to cracking. The voids were preferentially settled in grain boundaries, interfaces. The directionality of elongated voids and grains is biased to the heat flow vector or plasma pathway, which is the likely consequence of the thermally driven grain growth and sliding in the high-temperature conditions. The presence of a border between the transient layer and heat-affected zone is observed and attributed to plasma shock and thermal spallation of fractural tungsten at high temperature. Plasma peening-like hardening effects in tungsten were observed in the range of 22.7–46.3 GWm−2 but least in the case of the lowest heat flux, 12.5 GWm−2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Materials Chemistry
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)