Experimental weld filler metals having high resistance to radiation embrittlement at ≃550 F (288 C) have been developed for quenched and tempered A543 and A542 steel. The filler metals are from a special 2-1/4 Cr-1 Mo-0.40Si-0.10C composition series formulated to study the effects of variable copper, nickel, and manganese contents on weld performance. This report presents an advanced evaluation of weld deposit performance based on new Charpy-V (Cv) and tension data and an analysis of temper embrittlement and radiation embrittlement processes. High fluence assessments confirm the high resistance to radiation embrittlement of the low copper content filler metal group. A 530 F (277 C) irradiation of one typical submerged arc weld deposit to a fluence of 3.8 × 1020 n/cm2 > 1 MeV did not elevate its Cv 30 ft-lb transition temperature to above 275 F (135 C) or reduce its Cv shelf energy level to below 50 ft-lb. Radiation embrittlement saturation was not evident. Temper embrittlement and radiation embrittlement development and the probable mechanisms of copper and phosphorus influences on radiation embrittlement sensitivity are analyzed with the aid of experimental data for the weld metals and A543 plate. Temper embrittlement and radiation embrittlement are shown to be additive effects which can occur simultaneously or sequentially. A separate component of irradiation effects, manifested as a strength increase without embrittlement, is revealed. The enhancement of radiation sensitivity by high copper content (≧0.16–0.27 percent Cu) is related to a copper influence on the radiation elevation of yield strength; the enhancement of radiation sensitivity of phosphorus is ascribed to a detrimental effect similar to that of temper embrittlement. It is proposed that copper acts to pin radiation-induced defect aggregates and dislocation arrays in the matrix and that phosphorus segregates during irradiation to weaken the interface of ferrite platelets and carbides.

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