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Évolution microstructurale et compréhension des mécanismes de déformation d'un acier austénitique stabilisé au titane pour les réacteurs de quatrième dimension

Abstract : The fourth generation of nuclear reactors must meet new requirements for safety, energy efficiency, and integration into the nuclear fuel cycle. The CEA is a primary actor in this field and is developing new concepts for sodium-cooled fast reactors. The fuel cladding material being considered for these reactors is 15-15Ti AIM1 steel (Austenitic Improved Material #1), which is an advanced austenitic stainless steel containing 15-wt% chromium and 15-wt% nickel, Ti-stabilized and slightly cold-worked. This steel exhibits a singular loss of ductility between 20 and 200°C: the uniform and total elongations (UE and TE) are reduced by a factor of 3 in this temperature range. In addition, the effect of thermal aging on the microstructure and mechanical behavior is poorly known in the lowest operating conditions that are between 400 and 600°C. In this context, the objectives of this Ph.D. thesis are: -Increase our knowledge of the deformation mechanisms involved in the singular behavior at 200°C ; -Study the influence of a thermal aging between 400 and 600°C on the microstructural evolutions and on the mechanical behavior, with particular attention on the singularity at 200°C. Examining the relation between the singular behavior at 200°C and the related deformation mechanisms required a multi-scale approach combining techniques such as tensile tests, Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD), and Transmission electron Microscopy (TEM). The analyses revealed: -A coexistence of twinning and perfect slip at 20°C;-An extinction of twinning replaced by a predominance of perfect slip associated with cross-slip at 200°C;-A continuous increase of the Stacking Fault Energy (SFE) from 20 to 200°C. In particular, the measured values are respectively 27 mJ/m² and 46 mJ/m². The evolution of the deformation mechanisms of 15-15Ti AIM can be explained by a competition between twinning and cross-slip for releasing the strain energy of the material. At 20°C, both dislocation glide and twinning are active, and the twinning produces a “Dynamic Hall-Petch Effect”, which produces continual strain hardening of the microstructure even at high strains, which leads to high ductility. On the other hand, the stacking fault energy is high at 200°C, so twinning no longer occurs, but cross-slip becomes active. Thus, little strain hardening occurs at 200°C, which leads to the rapid onset of strain localization and reduced ductility.Samples that were aged between 400 and 600°C for 1000 hours exhibit no evidence of material recovery. However, TEM observations established a new threshold for the precipitation of nanometric titanium carbides after an isothermal treatment at 500°C for 5000 hours. Concerning the tensile properties, the aged states present a gain both in strength (especially in Ultimate Tensile Strength) and in ductility (UE, TE) compared to the initial cold-worked state. This gain in ductility is observed for all of the temperatures tested (between 20 and 400°C) and is accompanied by an increase of the strain hardening rate of the material. One plausible hypothesis to explain this improvement of the mechanical behavior relies on the nanometric titanium carbides formed during the aging process. These precipitates could prevent by pinning the initially present dislocations to recombine or annihilate with the dislocations introduced by the tensile test.
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Émilien Curtet. Évolution microstructurale et compréhension des mécanismes de déformation d'un acier austénitique stabilisé au titane pour les réacteurs de quatrième dimension. Thermique [physics.class-ph]. Université de Poitiers, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019POIT2293⟩. ⟨tel-02490888⟩

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