Journal article

Radiation damage in ferritic/martensitic steels for fusion reactors: a simulation point of view

Low activation ferritic/martensitic steels are good candidates for the future fusion reactors, for, relative to austenitic steels, their lower damage accumulation and moderate swelling under irradiation by the 14 MeV neutrons produced by the fusion reaction. Irradiation of these steels, e.g. EUROFER97, is known to produce hardening, loss of ductility, shift in ductile to brittle transition temperature and a reduction of fracture toughness and creep resistance starting at the lowest doses. Helium, produced by transmutation by the 14 MeV neutrons, is known to impact mechanical properties, but its effect at the microstructure level is still unclear. The mechanisms underlying the degradation of mechanical properties are not well understood, despite numerous studies on the evolution of the microstructure under irradiation. This impedes our ability to predict materials' behaviour at higher doses for use in the future fusion reactors. Simulations of these effects are now essential. An overview is presented on molecular dynamics simulations of the primary state of damage in iron and of the mobility of a dislocation, vector of plasticity, in the presence of a defect.


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