Nuclear fusion holds the potential to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions, and provide a major contribution to net zero targets. The in-vessel components in the fusion plant, such as pipes, breeding blanket, and divertor cassette, have to use complex materials systems, joining techniques, and maintenance processes to enable their function under extreme operating conditions.
Researchers at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, the University of Surrey, and TESCAN, published the recent paper in the February issue of Science Advances, discusses the first use of a Xe+ plasma focused ion beam with digital image correlation (PFIB-DIC) and nanoindentation to revel the time-resolved mechanistic connection between residual stress, microstructure, and microhardness. The results provide insight into maintaining structural integrity of laserwelded Eurofer97 steel and other complex weldments, and demonstrates the use of new tools, such as the PFIB-DIC, for this critical engineering challenge.
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