Bulk nanolaminated graphene (reduced graphene oxide)-aluminum composite tolerant of radiation damage

Y Liu and YP Zeng and Q Guo and J Zhang and ZQ Li and DB Xiong and XY Li and D Zhang, ACTA MATERIALIA, 196, 17-29 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2020.06.018

Nanolayered metals are shown to have significantly improved radiation resistance, owing to the copious interplay between their densely populated internal boundaries with irradiation-induced defects. Therefore, they have become promising candidates for structural applications in advanced nuclear reactors. Here we fabricated bulk nanolaminated graphene (in the form of reduced graphene oxide)-aluminum composite, and explored their structural and property evolution under high energy helium irradiation. We carefully designed and implemented the micro-/nano-mechanical test, so that the mechanical behavior of small scale specimens resembled that of the bulk. Compared to the unreinforced matrix, the graphene-aluminum composite showed substantially lower irradiation-induced strengthening magnitude, a considerable total elongation, smaller lattice swelling, and a completely different deformation mechanism after irradiation. A combination of detailed experimental observations and large-scale atomistic simulations indicated that both remarkable irradiation resistance and distinct mechanism of graphene-aluminum composite are related to the excellent sink strength of the graphene layers for irradiation-generated defects. This study offers a novel and effective strategy to produce scalable radiation damage-tolerant bulk metal matrix composite with meticulously tailored microstructures. (C) 2020 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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