Tungsten is the material of choice for plasma-facing components in the divertor region of future nuclear fusion reactors. Exposure to low-energy helium ion irradiation results in microstructural changes as helium is trapped at defects in the tungsten matrix. High-temperature exposure results in the formation of helium bubbles in the subsurface. Dispersion-strengthened tungsten materials are tungsten-based materials with added transition metal carbides to alter the impurity distribution and grain structure. In this work, the thermal release of helium from dispersion-strengthened tungsten is investigated. After irradiation at 1073 K to a 1024 m−2 fluence, thermal desorption spectroscopy was performed to elucidate the helium trapping and desorption behavior. Post-desorption microscopy was performed to correlate the microstructural changes with helium release spectra. The amount of desorbed helium was highest in the 1.1 and 5 wt% alloys, and significantly lower in the 10 wt% alloys. Helium bubbles were observed in the pure tungsten and 1.1 wt% alloys within the tungsten grains. Correlating the composition with helium release spectra revealed the importance of tailoring grain size and oxide vacancy concentrations by varying the dispersoid content on the helium retention and release behavior. These first results of helium desorption from dispersion-strengthened tungsten indicate compositionally dependent retention and reveal the need to examine helium retention in advanced tungsten alloys under reactor-relevant exposure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- General Materials Science
- Mechanical Engineering