Excellent mechanical properties of ODS steels are directly related to the high density of homogeneously distributed, well-formed oxide particles (such as Y2O3, or Y-Ti-O). However, atom probe tomography study of ODS steels revealed that in addition they contain almost a hundred times more nanoclusters enriched in Y, O and V/Ti (if present in the alloy composition) than larger oxide particles.
In this work, we carried out atom probe tomography (APT) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies of three different ODS steels produced by mechanical alloying: ODS Eurofer, 13.5Cr ODS and 13.5Cr-0.3Ti ODS. These materials were investigated after irradiation with Fe (5.6 MeV) or Ti (4.8 MeV) ions up to 1015 ion/cm2 and part of them up to 3 × 1015 ion/cm2. In all cases, areas for TEM investigation were cut at a depth of ∼ 1.3 µm from the irradiated surface corresponding to the peak of the radiation damage dose. It was shown that after irradiation at RT and at 300 °С the number density of oxide particles in all the samples grew up. Meanwhile, the fraction of small particles in the size distribution has increased. APT revealed an esse ... mehrntial increase in nanoclusters number and a change of their chemical composition at the same depth. The nanostructure was the most stable in 13.5Cr-0.3Ti ODS irradiated at 300 °С: the increase of the fraction of small oxides was minimal and no change of nanocluster chemical composition was detected.