The existing literature data shows that conventional aluminium alloys may not be suitable for use in stellar‐radiation environments as their hardening phases are prone to dissolve upon exposure to energetic irradiation, resulting in alloy softening which may reduce the lifetime of such materials impairing future human‐based space missions. The innovative methodology of crossover alloying is herein used to synthesize an aluminium alloy with a radiation resistant hardening phase. This alloy—a crossover of 5xxx and 7xxx series Al‐alloys—is subjected to extreme heavy ion irradiations in situ within a TEM up to a dose of 1 dpa and major experimental observations are made: the Mg32(Zn,Al)49 hardening precipitates (denoted as T‐phase) for this alloy system surprisingly survive the extreme irradiation conditions, no cavities are found to nucleate and displacement damage is observed to develop in the form of black‐spots. This discovery indicates that a high phase fraction of hardening precipitates is a crucial parameter for achieving superior radiation tolerance. Based on such observations, this current work sets new guidelines for the design of metallic alloys for space exploration.
Tunes, M. A., Stemper, L., Greaves, G., Uggowitzer, P. J., & Pogatscher, S. (2020). Prototypic Lightweight Alloy Design for Stellar‐Radiation Environments. Advanced Science, . https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202002397