Metallic oxide nano-clusters synthesis by ion implantation in high purity Fe10Cr alloy

Abstract : ODS (Oxide Dispersed Strengthened) steels, which are reinforced with metal dispersions of nano-oxides (based on Y, Ti and O elements), are promising materials for future nuclear reactors. The detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in the precipitation of these nano-oxides would improve manufacturing and mechanical properties of these ODS steels, with a strong economic impact for their industrialization. To experimentally study these mechanisms, an analytical approach by ion implantation is used, to control various parameters of synthesis of these precipitates as the temperature and concentration. This study demonstrated the feasibility of this method and concerned the behaviour of alloys models (based on aluminium oxide) under thermal annealing. High purity Fe-10Cr alloys were implanted with Al and O ions at room temperature. Transmission electron microscopy observations showed that the nano-oxides appear in the Fe-10Cr matrix upon ion implantation at room temperature without subsequent annealing. The mobility of implanted elements is caused by the defects created during ion implantation, allowing the nucleation of these nanoparticles, of a few nm in diameter. These nanoparticles are composed of aluminium and oxygen, and also chromium. The high-resolution experiments show that their crystallographic structure is that of a non-equilibrium compound of aluminium oxide (cubic γ-Al₂O₃ type). The heat treatment performed after implantation induces the growth of the nano-sized oxides, and a phase change that tends to balance to the equilibrium structure (hexagonal α-Al₂O₃ type). These results on model alloys are fully applicable to industrial materials: indeed ion implantation reproduces the conditions of milling and heat treatments are at equivalent temperatures to those of thermo-mechanical treatments. A mechanism involving the precipitation of nano-oxide dispersed in ODS alloys is proposed in this manuscript based on the obtained experimental results, and the existing literature.
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Ce Zheng. Metallic oxide nano-clusters synthesis by ion implantation in high purity Fe10Cr alloy. Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015SACLS091⟩. ⟨tel-01242211⟩

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