He implantation induced microstructure- and hardness-modification of the intermetallic γ-TiAl
TiAl is a well known high temperature material with good creep properties. It is investigated as a potential structural material for Generation IV high temperature gas cooled nuclear reactors. The tests are performed with the ABB-2 (Ti-rich TiAl with 2 at.% W) developed by ASEA Brown Boveri Ltd. (ABB). Thin samples are irradiated throughout with 24 MeV 4He2+ ions; the irradiated material is then investigated towards its microstructure and its hardness. The microstructure is studied by transmission electron microscopy and the hardness is investigated using a micro-hardness tester and a nano-indenter. Different effects can be identified. From room to moderate irradiation temperatures, the radiation induced hardening of the material slowly vanishes until the material completely recovers at about 943 K. Beyond this temperature, He-bubble formation seems to harden the material again, until beyond 1200 K a steep increase in hardening is detected. This effect can be correlated with bubbles being identified in the micrographs. The results are consistent and give strong indications to a microstructural development as a function of temperature.