Oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) steels are leading candidates for structural materials in nuclear fission and fusion power plants. Understanding the nature of nano-oxide particles in ODS steels is vital for a better control of the microstructure and mechanical properties to further their applications. In this study, electron microscopy and atom probe tomography (APT) have been used to investigate the nanocluster features in ODS Eurofer steel. With the addition of V and Ta in ODS Eurofer, the nanoclusters exhibit a higher number density with a decreased average diameter, indicating that V and Ta are beneficial for the formation of small clusters. Irrespective of the composition of the base material, the smaller particles have a variable stoichiometry while the larger particles are likely to have Y2O3 stoichiometry. The nanoclusters were found to have a core/shell structure, where Y, O and Ta are enriched in the core and Cr and V are predominant in the shell. The formation of the complex structure is possibly the result of a competing effect between Ta, Y, V and Cr binding with O. It is deduced that Ta tends to combine with O in the core (Y2O3) of the clusters due to a higher affinity, and pushes V and Cr to the surrounding shell during the formation of nanoclusters.
- Atom probe tomography
- ODS Eurofer
- Oxide dispersion strengthened steel