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Monitoring neutron embrittlement in nuclear pressure vessel steels using micromagnetic Barkhausen emissions

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3 Author(s)
Sipahi, L.B. ; Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, Iowa State University, Institute for Physical Research and Technology, Ames, Iowa 50011 ; Govindaraju, M.R. ; Jiles, D.C.

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In nuclear power plants, neutron embrittlement of pressure vessel steels has been one of the main concerns. The use of micromagnetic Barkhausen emissions is a promising method to monitor the variations in microstructural and subsurface stress states due to their influence on these emissions. Measurements of these emissions can reveal neutron irradiation degradation in nuclear power plant components. Samples which were irradiated at different neutron fluences and annealed at different temperatures were obtained from three reactor surveillance programs. The results of different neutron fluences and annealing procedures showed noticeable fractional changes in the magnetic Barkhausen effect signal parameter, ΔMBE/MBE, and in the mechanical properties of these specimens. For example, increased intensity of neutron fluence decreased the ΔMBE/MBE as well as impact energy and upper‐shelf energy, but increased Rockwell hardness and yield strength. Typical changes in this parameter were in the range from -20% to -45% for fluences of up to 25×1018 n cm-2.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:75 ,  Issue: 10 )