The objective of the proposed research work is to investigate the nano/micro-structures in DIN 1.4970 stainless steel cladding tubes and in the corrosion layers after exposure to LBE. This work is expected to shed light on the oxidation and dissolution mechanisms operating in these steels as a result of their contact with liquid LBE. The student would have to follow closely the corrosion research program currently on-going at SCK•CEN and from which samples will be obtained.
The main tool of investigation would be analytical transmission electron microcopy (TEM). It is proposed to perform this PhD work in collaboration with one of the leading European TEM laboratories, EMAT (Electron Microscopy for Material Science), at the University of Antwerp. Their expertise in the field of TEM and sample preparation will be a great support for this PhD work. At SCK•CEN, a JEOL JEM3010 Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope equipped with an Energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer (EDS) will be used to investigate the samples with conventional TEM, high resolution TEM and electron diffraction to determine the crystal structure, the defect structure and morphology of the different phases both in the corrosion-affected zones and in the 1.4970 steel bulk down to the atomic level. The EDS-system can be used to determine the local chemical composition of the different phases. Other TEM techniques such STEM HAADF, STEM EELS and EFTEM may be applied at the EMAT laboratory. Complementary analyses using SEM-EDS or EPMA (Electron Probe MicroAnalyser) devices available at SCK•CEN may also be considered during this PhD work.
Results obtained from this in-depth study of the liquid metal corrosion behavior of 1.4970 stainless steels will help to acquire a thorough understanding of the operating corrosion mechanisms and might be used to develop models describing the oxidation/dissolution behavior of 1.4970 steels. This PhD work should, therefore, bring an important contribution to the qualification of the MYRRHA fuel cladding.
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