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Formation of different types of nanosized Al-containing oxide precipitates
in an Fe-Cr-Al alloy (PM 2000) was studied by electron energy loss
spectroscopy (EELS) using a transmission electron microscope (TEM). It was
shown that Y3Al5O12 (garnet) and YAlO3 (perovskite) as
can be distinguished by analysing the O-K energy loss near-edge structure
(ELNES). The formation of interface-specific phases on
Al2O3/YAlO3, Al2O3/matrix and
Y3Al5O12/matrix interfaces was also investigated by specially
resolved EELS analysis. Applicability and sensitivity of the EELS method in
the study of steel precipitates were discussed. A sharp pre-peak or
“pre-shoulder” in the O-K edge was observed and studied by means of
spatially resolved EELS of oxide inclusions. The intense pre-peak was found
to be caused by radiation damage induced by the electron beam of the Al
hydroxide phase inside Al2O3 inclusions. This phase formed due to
the incorporation of hydrogen in the matrix during mechanical alloying in
the hydrogen atmosphere. The “pre-shoulder” of the main O-K feature
measured on the inclusion/matrix interface results from the formation of a
thin Ti-O layer.