Impact of neutron irradiation on hardening of baseline and advanced tungsten grades and its link to initial microstructure

Chao Yin*, Dmitry Terentyev, Andrii Dubinko, Tao Zhang, Marius Wirtz, Steffen Antusch, Roumen H. Petrov, Thomas Pardoen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number066012
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • irradiation hardening
  • microindentation
  • neutron irradiation
  • tungsten


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