The stability of irradiation-induced defects in Zr3AlC2, Nb4AlC3 and (Zr0.5,Ti0.5)3AlC2 MAX phase-based ceramics

D. Bowden, J. Ward, S. Middleburgh, S. de Moraes Shubeita, E. Zapata-Solvas, T. Lapauw, J. Vleugels, K. Lambrinou, W. E. Lee, M. Preuss, P. Frankel

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Abstract

This work is a first assessment of the radiation tolerance of the nanolayered ternary carbides (MAX phases), Zr3AlC2, Nb4AlC3 and (Zr0.5,Ti0.5)3AlC2, using proton irradiation followed by post-irradiation examination based primarily on x-ray diffraction analysis. These specific MAX phase compounds are being evaluated as candidate coating materials for fuel cladding applications in advanced nuclear reactor systems. The aim of using a MAX phase coating is to protect the substrate fuel cladding material from corrosion damage during its exposure to the primary coolant. Proton irradiation was used in this study as a surrogate for neutron irradiation in order to introduce radiation damage into these ceramics at reactor-relevant temperatures. The post-irradiation examination of these materials revealed that the Zr-based 312-MAX phases, Zr3AlC2 and (Zr0.5,Ti0.5)3AlC2 have a superior ability for defect-recovery above 400 °C, whilst the Nb4AlC3 does not demonstrate any appreciable defect recovery below 600 °C. Density functional theory calculations have demonstrated that the structural differences between the 312 and 413-MAX phase structures govern the variation of the irradiation tolerance of these materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalActa Materialia
Volume183
Early online date7 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

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    Bowden, D., Ward, J., Middleburgh, S., de Moraes Shubeita, S., Zapata-Solvas, E., Lapauw, T., ... Frankel, P. (2020). The stability of irradiation-induced defects in Zr3AlC2, Nb4AlC3 and (Zr0.5,Ti0.5)3AlC2 MAX phase-based ceramics. Acta Materialia, 183, 24-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2019.10.049