Deviating from the pure MAX phase concept: Radiation-tolerant nanostructured dual-phase Cr2AlC
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- University of Huddersfield
A dual-phase Cr 2AlC material was synthesized using magnetron sputtering at a temperature of 648 K. A stoichiometric and nanocrystalline MAX phase matrix was observed along with the presence of spherical-shaped amorphous nano-zones as a secondary phase. The irradiation resistance of the material was assessed using a 300-keV Xe ion beam in situ within a transmission electron microscope up to 40 displacements per atom at 623 K: a condition that extrapolates the harmful environments of future fusion and fission nuclear reactors. At the maximum dose investigated, complete amorphization was not observed. Scanning transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive x-ray revealed an association between swelling due to inert gas bubble nucleation and growth and radiation-induced segregation and clustering. Counterintuitively, the findings suggest that preexisting amorphous nano-zones can be beneficial to Cr 2AlC MAX phase under extreme environments.