The effect of prior cold-work on the deformation behaviour of neutron irradiated AISI 304 austenitic stainless steel

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Cold-work is intentionally employed to increase the yield strength of austenitic stainless steels and also occurs during fabrication processes, but it has also been associated with greater incidence of stress corrosion cracking. This study examined the effect of up to 3.85 dpa neutron irradiation on the deformation behaviour and microstructures of 30% cold-worked AISI 304 material tensile tested at 300 C. While the deformation behaviour of 0.07 dpa material was similar to non-irradiated material tested at the same temperature, its stress–strain curve was shifted upwards by about 200 MPa. Materials irradiated to over 2 dpa hardened some 400–500 MPa, but showed limited strain hardening capacity, exhibiting precipitous softening with further straining beyond the yield point. The observed behaviour is most likely a consequence of planar deformation products serving as strengtheners to the unirradiated bulk on the one hand, while promoting strain localization on the other, behaviour exacerbated by the subsequent neutron irradiation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


  • stainless steel, IASCC, deformation

ID: 295437