A multi-scaled process study of dissimilar friction stir welding of Eurofer RAFM steel to PM2000 ODS alloy


Both the reduced activation ferritic/martensitic (RAFM) steel and oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloys have shown high potential applications in the nuclear industry. In this study, Eurofer RAFM steel and PM2000 ODS alloy in butt joint configuration was welded by friction stir welding (FSW), and a multi-scaled process study including procedure analysis, macro-/micro-structure, mechanical properties as well as deformation behavior was conducted. To obtain defect-free welds with equal strength and toughness matching, an intermediate rotation speed of 300 rpm was applied since it results in sufficient material intermixing both within the stirred zone (SZ) and along the SZ boundary. The SZ is composed of quenching martensite from the Eurofer steel and the recrystallized ferrite from PM2000, which shows significantly increased microhardness and excellent resistance to local deformation. As a result, strain localization occurs within the Eurofer steel during tensile testing. Additionally, a unique phenomenon, abnormal grain growth (AGG), was identified within the SZ of the as-welded joint. The underlying mechanism of AGG is related to the reduction of grain boundary pinning due to the dissolution of nanoparticles. The equiaxed ferrite nucleus with a similar orientation, surrounded by low-angle grain boundaries, gradually merge with each other through grain annexation, resulting in the finally coarsened grains. The reported study offers fundamental knowledge of FSW of RAFM steel to ODS alloy dissimilar combinations, promoting the usage of RAFM/ODS hybrid structures in future applications.
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