A Novel Microshear Geometry for Exploring the Influence of Void Swelling on the Mechanical Properties Induced by MeV Heavy Ion Irradiation

Journal Article
Materials, vol. 15, iss. 12, pp. 4253, 2022
Jonathan G. Gigax, Matthew R. Chancey, Dongyue Xie, Hyosim Kim, Yongqiang Wang, Stuart A. Maloy, Nan Li
Small disks are often the specimen of choice for exposure in nuclear reactor environments, and this geometry invariably limits the types of mechanical testing that can be performed on the specimen. Recently, shear punch testing has been utilized to evaluate changes arising from neutron irradiation in test reactor environments on these small disk specimens. As part of a broader effort to link accelerated testing using ion irradiation and conventional neutron irradiation techniques, a novel microshear specimen geometry was developed for use with heavy-ion irradiated specimens. The technique was demonstrated in pure Cu irradiated to 11 and 110 peak dpa with 10 MeV Cu ions. At 11 peak dpa, the Cu specimen had a high density of small voids in the irradiated region, while at 110 peak dpa, larger voids with an average void swelling of ~20% were observed. Micropillar and microshear specimens both exhibited hardening at 11 dpa, followed by softening at 110 dpa. The close alignment of the new microshear technique and more conventional micropillar testing, and the fact that both follow intuition, is a good first step towards applying microshear testing to a wider range of irradiated materials.