Tungsten carbide as a deoxidation agent for plasma-facing tungsten-based materials

Šestan, A. and Zavašnik, J. and Kržmanc, M.M. and Kocen, M. and Jenuš, P. and Novak, S. and Čeh, M. and Dehm, G.

Volume: 524 Pages: 135-140
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2019.06.030
Published: 2019

Tungsten (W) and various composites are being considered as the primary plasma-facing materials for fusion reactors. Like all engineering materials, they contain certain levels of impurities, which can have an important impact on mechanical properties. In the present work, oxygen was identified as a major impurity in our starting tungsten powder. At elevated temperatures, the presence of interstitial elements such as oxygen leads to the formation of an oxide-rich tungsten phase at the tungsten grain boundaries. In this study, we determined the capacity of tungsten carbide (WC) nanoparticles to remove the oxide impurities from a tungsten body. Tungsten composites with 0.05, 0.25 and 0.51 wt. % carbon (C) in the form of WC were sintered using a field-assisted sintering technique (FAST) at 1900 °C for 5 min. The sintered samples were characterized using field-emission scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Thermodynamic and kinetic considerations allowed us to determine the optimum theoretical amount of WC to prevent the in-situ formation of WO2. © 2019 Andreja Šestan, Janez Zavašnik, Marjeta Maček Kržmanc, Matej Kocen, Petra Jenuš, Saša Novak, Miran Čeh, Gerhard Dehm

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