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This content will become publicly available on December 24, 2016

Title: High temperature ion irradiation effects in MAX phase ceramics

The family of layered carbides and nitrides known as MAX phase ceramics combine many attractive properties of both ceramics and metals due to their nanolaminate crystal structure and are promising potential candidates for application in future nuclear reactors. This research examines the effects of energetic heavy ion (5.8 MeV Ni) irradiations on polycrystalline samples of Ti3SiC2, Ti3AlC2, and Ti2AlC. The irradiation conditions consisted of midrange ion doses between 10 and 30 displacements per atom at temperatures of 400 and 700⁰C, conditions relevant to application in future nuclear reactors and a relatively un-explored regime for this new class of materials. Following irradiation, a comprehensive analysis of radiation response properties was compiled using grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (XRD), nanoindentation, scanning electron microcopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In all cases, XRD and TEM analyses confirm the materials remain fully crystalline although the intense atomic collisions induce significant damage and disorder into the layered crystalline lattice. X-ray diffraction and nanoindentation show this damage is manifest in anisotropic swelling and hardening at all conditions and in all materials, with the aluminum based MAX phase exhibiting significantly more damage than their silicon counterpart. In all three materials there is little damage dependence on dose,more » suggesting saturation of radiation damage at levels below 10 displacements per atom, and significantly less retained damage at higher temperatures, suggesting radiation defect annealing. SEM surface analysis showed significant grain boundary cracking and loss of damage tolerance properties in the aluminum-based MAX phase irradiated at 400⁰C, but not in the silicon counterpart. TEM analysis of select samples suggest that interstitials are highly mobile while vacancies are immobile and that all three materials are in the so-called point defect swelling regime between 400 and 700⁰C. Finally, all results are consistent with previous work involving traditional and MAX phase ceramics. Results show the aluminum MAX phases are not fit for application near 400⁰C and that the silicon MAX phase is more damage tolerant at 400-700⁰C.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Acta Materialia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 105; Journal ID: ISSN 1359-6454
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE Radiation effects; Radiation hardening; Lattice parameter swelling; Defect clusters