FeCrAl alloys are promising candidate materials for the accident tolerant fuel (ATF) cladding application due to their exceptional resistance to oxidation in elevated temperature steam environments. Currently, limited fracture toughness data are available for the FeCrAl alloys, including the FeCrAl alloys newly developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Fuels Campaign (AFC) program. In this study, two Generation II candidate FeCrAl alloys, i.e., C06M (81.8Fe-10Cr-6Al-0.03Y-2Mo-0.2Si) and C36M (78.8Fe-13Cr-6Al-0.03Y-2Mo-0.2Si), were irradiated in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at ORNL to assess the fracture characteristics of these alloys after neutron irradiation. A total of six rabbit capsules were irradiated in HFIR at target temperatures of 200°C, 330°C, and 500°C up to target damage doses of 8 displacements per atom (dpa) and 16 dpa. Post-irradiation fracture toughness testing was performed following the Master Curve method in the ASTM E1921 standard. The main findings of this study are:
1) Both the C06M and C36M alloys exhibited a similar response to irradiation concerning irradiation hardening and embrittlement.
2) The irradiation temperature played different roles in terms of irradiation hardening and embrittlement for both C06M and C36M: after irradiation between 166°C and 204°C, both materials exhibited significant irradiation hardening and embrittlement; after irradiation between 315°C and 343°C, both materials showed small irradiation hardening without irradiation embrittlement. After irradiation between 501°C and 507°C, however, the irradiation softening without irradiation embrittlement was observed in both materials.
3) Comparing the microhardness and Master Curve reference temperature T0q before and after neutron irradiation, we did not observe a linear correlation between the two parameters for both C06M and C36M steels. This should be mainly due to a flat response of the Master Curve reference temperature T0q to the irradiations at 166–204°C and 315–343°C ranges
4) C06M showed a lower T0q, meaning better toughness, than C36M at the unirradiated condition, and such trend was kept even after neutron irradiation except for the 166–204°C irradiation after which both materials had similar T0q.
5) In terms of hardening and embrittlement, the irradiation effect on both C06M and C36M appeared to saturate after an irradiation dose of 7 dpa.