Six tungsten grades were irradiated in the Belgian material test reactor (BR2) and characterized by Vickers hardness tests in order to investigate the irradiation-induced hardening. These tungsten grades included: Plansee (Austria) ITER specification tungsten, ALMT (Japan) ITER specification tungsten, two products from KIT (Germany) produced by powder injection molding (PIM) and strengthened by 1% TiC and 2% Y2O3 dispersed particles, and rolled tungsten strengthened by 0.5% ZrC from ISSP (China). The materials were irradiated face-to-face at three temperatures equal to 600 °C, 1000 °C, and 1200 °C to the dose of ∼1 dpa. The Vickers hardness tests under 200 gf (HV0.2) were performed at room temperature. The Vickers hardness increases as the irradiation temperature increases from 600 to 1000 °C for all materials, except for the ZrC-reinforced tungsten, for which the increase of hardness does not depend on irradiation temperature. The irradiation-induced hardness decreases after irradiation at 1200 °C. This is a result of defect annealing enhanced by thermally activated diffusion. However, even at 1200 °C, the impact of neutron irradiation on the hardness increase remains significant; the hardness increases by ∼30 to 60% compared to the non-irradiated value. In the case of TiC-strengthened material, the irradiation hardening progressively raises with irradiation temperature, which cannot be explained by the accumulation of neutron irradiation defects solely.
- irradiation hardening
- neutron irradiation