Prototypic Lightweight Alloy Design for Stellar-Radiation Environments
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review
External Organisational units
- University of Huddersfield
- Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich
The existing literature data shows that conventional aluminium alloys may not be suitable for use in stellar-radiation environments as their hardening phases are prone to dissolve upon exposure to energetic irradiation, resulting in alloy softening which may reduce the lifetime of such materials impairing future human-based space missions. The innovative methodology of crossover alloying is herein used to synthesize an aluminium alloy with a radiation resistant hardening phase. This alloy—a crossover of 5xxx and 7xxx series Al-alloys—is subjected to extreme heavy ion irradiations in situ within a TEM up to a dose of 1 dpa and major experimental observations are made: the Mg32(Zn,Al)49 hardening precipitates (denoted as T-phase) for this alloy system surprisingly survive the extreme irradiation conditions, no cavities are found to nucleate and displacement damage is observed to develop in the form of black-spots. This discovery indicates that a high phase fraction of hardening precipitates is a crucial parameter for achieving superior radiation tolerance. Based on such observations, this current work sets new guidelines for the design of metallic alloys for space exploration.