Radiation Hardening and Optical Properties of Materials based on SiO2
In preliminary studies, it was shown that the optical absorption spectra of radiation-colored glasses are the spectra of optical losses due to scattering by optical inhomogeneities. Optical inhomogeneities in glasses of various compositions arise due to the radiation separation of the electric charge and polarization in nanosized structural elements.
The authors of this work prove that the radiation changes in the mechanical and optical properties of silica glasses are of the same nature. The performed estimates indicate that the separation of the electric charge in glasses occurs up to absorbed doses of about 1 MGy. The local separation of the electric charge due to the appearance of Coulomb forces leads to the radiation Coulomb hardening of glasses. The estimate of the Coulomb hardening of quartz glasses was ~ 1⋅107 Pa.
The theoretical results were experimentally confirmed by measuring the mechanical properties of glasses under high intensity proton irradiation as well as by testing the mechanical strength of a composite material based on quartz glass. Under proton irradiation with a dose rate of 5⋅103 Gy/s (energy of 8 MeV) up to threshold doses of ~ (1 – 5)⋅106 Gy in KU-1 quartz glasses, the decrement of acoustic vibrations decreased due to the Coulomb hardening. After gamma irradiation with 1.34⋅105 Gy, the tensile strength of a composite material based on quartz glass increased by up to 20 MPa. This value is in the range of estimates of the Coulomb hardening of quartz glasses. It is also shown that ionizing radiation does not affect the elastic modulus of materials based on SiO2.
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