The effect of thermal history on the additively manufactured AlSi10Mg alloy response to ion irradiation

Ziv Ungarish, Michael Aizenshtein, Kevin Woller, Michael P. Short, Shmuel Hayun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aluminum alloys, mainly from the 5xxx and 6xxx families, are used extensively in research reactors due to their suitable properties. However, alloys common in nuclear applications are not yet suitable for Additive Manufacturing (AM). The alloy AlSi10Mg has good engineering properties and is the most used and investigated AM Al-alloy. In this work, stress relieved (SR) samples of AM AlSi10Mg have been compared to samples that underwent a subsequent heat treatment at 500°C (SHT), producing two distinctly different microstructures. The SHT samples contain larger grains with a cleaner matrix and coarser silicon particles compared to the SR samples. Samples with the two microstructures were irradiated using silicon ions up to damage of ∼20 dpa at a depth of about 1 µm. To compare the response of both conditions to irradiation, properties were measured using nano-indentation and transient grating spectroscopy (TGS). Microstructure was characterized using TEM. Results show that the SHT condition is much more sensitive to irradiation, compared to SR. Irradiation caused thermal diffusivity to decrease by ∼5% in the SR condition and by more than 50% in the SHT condition. Hardness increased by 12 and 24% in the SR and SHT conditions, respectively. Also, the void number density was significantly larger in the SHT condition. No change was observed in young's modulus. The lower sensitivity of the SR condition is attributed to a higher sink density present in the initial microstructure, resulting in overall less irradiation damage retained in the material after irradiation. The explanation offered for the major drop in thermal diffusivity observed only in the SHT condition is the large size of the silicon particles, which increases their instability during irradiation, causing them to partly dissolve and release atomic silicon into the matrix around them. These silicon atoms are effective electron and phonon scatter centers. The findings of this work show that the pre-irradiated microstructure of AM AlSi10Mg has a crucial role in the material's performance in nuclear reactor core conditions. Careful thought and care need to be implemented to the heat treatment applied to an as-built part.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number154788
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Additive manufacturing
  • AlSi10Mg
  • Ion irradiation
  • Radiation damage
  • Transient grating spectroscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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