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High dose self-ion irradiation of silicon carbide with nanostructured ferritic alloy aid

Ning, Kaijie, Lu, Kathy, Bodnar, Robert J.
Journal of materials science 2019 v.54 no.1 pp. 605-612
Raman spectroscopy, alloys, behavioral resistance, cladding, crystal structure, ions, irradiation, models, oxidation, radiation resistance, scanning electron microscopy, silicon carbide, thermal properties
Silicon carbide (SiC) and its composites are gaining interests because of their high physical and chemical stability, good oxidation and irradiation resistance, and excellent mechanical and thermal behaviors for nuclear cladding applications. In this work, ion irradiation on spark plasma-sintered SiC with and without nanostructured ferritic alloy aid (0 vol% NFA–100 vol% SiC and 2.5 vol% NFA–97.5 vol% SiC) was carried out using 5 MeV Si⁺⁺ ions at 2.2 × 10¹⁸ ions cm⁻² fluence and characterized based on scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy in order to understand their irradiation resistance behaviors. The surfaces of both the 0 vol% NFA–100 vol% SiC and 2.5 vol% NFA–97.5 vol% SiC samples experience a dramatic change with the creation of a well-defined dune pattern, which can be explained based on the Bradley–Harper model. The irradiation-induced damage layer has a consistent thickness and agrees with the result from SRIM simulation. Complete amorphization occurs for the SiC phase, while a crystalline structure is maintained for the Fe₃Si phase. Results of the current study have great potential for developing NFA–SiC cladding materials of nuclear reactors.