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Isothermal Annealing of Shocked Zirconium: Stability of the Two-phase $\alpha/\omega$ Microstructure

  • Low, Thaddeus Song En
  • Brown, Donald W.
  • Welk, Brian A.
  • Cerreta, Ellen K.
  • Okasinski, Jon S.
  • Niezgoda, Stephen R.
Published Article
Publication Date
Mar 13, 2015
Submission Date
Nov 12, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2015.03.031
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Under high pressure conditions, Zr undergoes a phase transformation from its ambient equilibrium hexagonal close packed $\alpha$ phase to hexagonal $\omega$ phase. Upon returning to ambient conditions, the material displays hysteretic behavior, retaining a significant amount of metastable $\omega$ phase. This study presents an in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction analysis of Zr samples shock-loaded to compressive peak stresses of 8 and 10.5 GPa and then annealed at temperatures of 443, 463, 483, and 503K. The evolution of the $\alpha$ phase volume fraction was tracked quantitatively, and the dislocation densities in both phases were tracked qualitatively during annealing. Upon heating, the reverse transformation of $\omega\to\alpha$ does not go to completion, but instead reaches a new metastable state. The initial rate of transformation is faster at higher temperatures. Samples shock-loaded to higher peak pressures experienced higher initial transformation rates and more extensive transformation. Dislocation content in both phases was observed to be high in the as-shocked samples. Annealing the samples reduces the dislocation content in both phases, with the reduction being lesser in the $\omega$ phase, leading to the postulation that transformation from $\omega\to\alpha$ is restricted by the pinning effect of dislocation structures within the $\omega$ phase. Electron backscatter diffraction analysis affirmed that the expected $(0\;0\;0\;1)_\alpha\parallel(1\;0\;\overline{1}\;1)_\omega$ and $[1\;0\;\overline{1}\;0]_\alpha\parallel[1\;1\;\overline{2}\;\overline{3}]_\omega$ orientation relationship is maintained during nucleation and growth of the $\alpha$ phase during the annealing. \end{abstract}

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