Superior radiation-resistant nanoengineered austenitic 304L stainless steel for applications in extreme radiation environments Academic Article uri icon


  • Nuclear energy provides more than 10% of electrical power internationally, and the increasing engagement of nuclear energy is essential to meet the rapid worldwide increase in energy demand. A paramount challenge in the development of advanced nuclear reactors is the discovery of advanced structural materials that can endure extreme environments, such as severe neutron irradiation damage at high temperatures. It has been known for decades that high dose radiation can introduce significant void swelling accompanied by precipitation in austenitic stainless steel (SS). Here we report, however, that through nanoengineering, ultra-fine grained (UFG) 304 L SS with an average grain size of ~100 nm, can withstand Fe ion irradiation at 500 °C to 80 displacements-per-atom (dpa) with moderate grain coarsening. Compared to coarse grained (CG) counterparts, swelling resistance of UFG SS is improved by nearly an order of magnitude and swelling rate is reduced by a factor of 5. M(23)C(6) precipitates, abundant in irradiated CG SS, are largely absent in UFG SS. This study provides a nanoengineering approach to design and discover radiation tolerant metallic materials for applications in extreme radiation environments.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, C., Zheng, S., Wei, C. C., Wu, Y., Shao, L., Yang, Y., ... Zhang, X.

citation count

  • 61

publication date

  • January 2015