Diffusion Couple Alloying of Refractory Metals in Austenitic and Ferritic/Martensitic Steels
McGinnis, Alexander L.
Brewer, Luke N.
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This thesis utilized the diffusion couple approach to evaluate the addition of molybdenum, niobium, tantalum, and tungsten to 316 stainless (316SS) and alloy HT9 steels. Refractory elements have been previously studied as alloying candidates to mitigate problems such as radiation-induced segregation, void swelling, and irradiation creep in reactor steels. Diffusion couples were characterized via energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and nanoindentation to examine refractory element solubility, diffusivity, and the effects these elements have on hardness and elastic modulus in 316SS and alloy HT9. Molybdenum and tungsten samples showed significantly higher solubility and diffusivity than niobium and tantalum, with evidence of multiphase regions several hundred microns from the diffusion couple interface. Nanoindentation revealed evidence of hardening as a function of increasing concentration for some, but not all of the refractory elements. Diffusion of the refractory elements in alloy HT9 was significantly higher than in 316SS, which suggests that alloy HT9 retained its ferritic structure even at high temperatures, i.e., 1100C.
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