Anisotropy in the hardness of single crystal tungsten before and after neutron irradiation

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In this work, the hardness of single crystal tungsten (W) after low, medium and high temperature neu- tron irradiation, reaching up to 1200 °C, is studied. Micro-hardness tests with Vickers pyramid indenter are performed on reference and neutron irradiated samples by varying the orientation of the indenter on the single crystal tungsten contact surface. Due to the availability of multiple slip systems, the anisotropy of the hardness is characterized to allow the construction of uncertainty bands as well as dependence of the absolute value of the hardness on the orientation of the indenter wedges and principal crystallo- graphic axes of the crystal. The applied neutron fluence and flux is representative for the ITER reactor, where tungsten is selected as armour material for plasma facing components. The neutron irradiation is performed in the BR2 reactor with mixed neutron spectrum up to 1 dpa (end of life fluence for ITER) but with appropriate measures to reduce the thermal neutron flux, such that the spurious transmutation into rhenium is reduced. The hardness study is accompanied with a detailed microscale examination to deduce the true indenter surface area. As a result, the true values of the hardness accounting for the pile-up effects are obtained as a function rotation angle of the indenter. The variation of the hardness as a function of indenter orientation before and after irradiation is discussed based on the indenter-slip system geometry. A simple but efficient methodology is proposed to deduce the true hardness and its angle-dependent variation for single crystal tungsten.


Original languageEnglish
Article number152759
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2020


  • Micro-hardness, Tungsten, Neutron irradiation, Anisotropy

ID: 6987368