Oxide Dispersion Strengthened (ODS) steels are potential candidate materials for application as structural components of fission and fusion reactors, known for their high thermal stability, high resistance to creep and to radiation-induced damage. These attractive properties result from the presence of the fine and highly thermally stable yttrium‑oxygen (Y-O) based nanoparticles, which exert a strong Zener pinning force to hinder the grain boundary movement, and are able to pin dislocations and trap radiation induced defects. In the present work, the effect of annealing at 1400 K on the microstructure and oxide nanoparticles in a 0.3% Y2O3 ODS Eurofer steel was assessed. The material was characterized with Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy and Atom Probe Tomography in a reference condition and after annealing at 1400 K, followed by cooling at different rates. The results showed that the average diameter of the oxide nanoparticles increases from 3.7 ± 0.01 nm to 5.3 ± 0.04 nm, after annealing at 1400 K for 1 h. The particles present a well-known core/shell structure, with a core rich in Y, O and V and a shell rich in Cr. The effect of the increase in oxide nanoparticle size on the microstructure is discussed in terms of the Zener pinning force.
- Atom probe tomography
- Oxide nanoparticle characterization
- Transmission electron microscopy
- α/γ phase transformation