The characterisation of second phases in the Zr-Nb and Zr-Nb-Sn-Fe alloys: a critical review

Allan Harte, Malcolm Griffiths, Michael Preuss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The nature and evolution of the Fe environment in Zr-Nb and Zr-Nb-Sn-Fe systems is essential to alloy performance during corrosion, hardening and irradiation-induced growth. Unfortunately, there is ambiguity in the literature regarding the characterisation of secondary phases in these systems. The presence, or not, of Fe in β-Nb phase has been a source of disagreement. In ternary ZrNbFe intermetallics, identical compositions have been designated as Zr(Nb,Fe)2 or (Zr,Nb)3Fe. We show that while Zr(Nb,Fe)2 is commonly reported, it is not always justified. The cubic phase (Zr,Nb)2Fe is easily identified, but its composition is more variable after low temperature heat treatments. We demonstrate the need for correlative approaches in the assessment of phase composition, crystallography and local Fe environment under different heat treatment regimes. Irradiation effects allow us to draw clues regarding phase designation, but there is diverse behaviour under irradiation due to initial phase composition, irradiation dose rate and temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

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