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Title: Temperature-dependent elastic anisotropy and mesoscale deformation in a nanostructured ferritic alloy

Nanostructured ferritic alloys (NFA) are a new class of ultrafine-grained oxide dispersion-strengthened steels, promising for service in extreme environments of high temperature and high irradiation in the next-generation of nuclear reactors. This is owing to the remarkable stability of their complex microstructures containing a high density of Y-Ti-O nanoclusters within grains and along the grain boundaries. While nanoclusters have been recognized to be the primary contributor to the exceptional resistance to irradiation and high-temperature creep, very little is known about the mechanical roles of the polycrystalline grains that constitute the bulk ferritic matrix. Here we report the mesoscale characterization of anisotropic responses of the ultrafine NFA grains to tensile stresses at various temperatures using the state-of-the-art in situ neutron diffraction. We show the first experimental determination of temperature-dependent single-crystal elastic constants for the NFA, and reveal a strong temperature-dependent elastic anisotropy due to a sharp decrease in the shear stiffness constant [c'=(c_11-c_12)/2] when a critical temperature ( T_c ) is approached, indicative of elastic softening and instability of the ferritic matrix. We also show, from anisotropy-induced intergranular strain/stress accumulations, that a common dislocation slip mechanism operates at the onset of yielding for low temperatures, while there is a deformation crossovermore » from low-temperature lattice hardening to high temperature lattice softening in response to extensive plastic deformation.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). Chemical and Engineering Materials Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Spallation Neutron Source (SNS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; nanostructured ferritic alloy; neutron diffraction; deformation; elastic anisotropy
OSTI Identifier: