Effects of Build Orientation and Heat Treatment on Neutron Irradiation Hardening in Inconel 625 Fabricated via Laser Powder Bed Fusion
Various Inconel 625 coupons fabricated via Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) were neutron irradiated using the inside reflector of the reactor at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR). Effects of build orientation and heat treatment on neutron-induced hardening were investigated by inspecting L-PBF samples built vertically or at a 45º angle in the following heat-treated conditions: as-built (no heat treatment), 700 ºC for 1 hour, 900 ºC for 1 hour, and 1050 ºC for 1 hour. The microhardness results of L-PBF samples before and after neutron irradiation were compared with traditional wrought Inconel 625. All samples underwent an irradiation flux of 6.61 x 1013 neutrons/cm²/s for 310 hours for an estimated damage of 0.012 dpa. Results indicate that as-built L-PBF specimens are less prone to radiation hardening relative to their wrought counterparts. As-printed diagonal specimens were shown to harden by 8% as compared to 1.2% hardening in as-printed vertical specimens.