A lead bismuth eutectic (LBE) spallation target will be installed in the Target Test Facility (TEF-T) in the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC). The spallation target vessel filled with LBE is made of type 316L stainless steel. However, various damages, such as erosion/corrosion damage and liquid metal embrittlement caused by contact with flowing LBE at high temperature, and irradiation hardening caused by protons and neutrons, may be inflicted on the target vessel, which will deteriorate the steel and might break the vessel. To monitor the target vessel for prevention of an accident, an ultrasonic technique has been proposed to establish off-line evaluation for estimating vessel material status during the target maintenance period. Basic R&D must be carried out to clarify the dependency of ultrasonic wave propagation behavior on material microstructures and obtain fundamental knowledge. As a first step, ultrasonic waves scattered by the grains of type 316L stainless steel are investigated using new experimental and numerical approaches in the present study. The results show that the grain size can be evaluated exactly and quantitatively by calculating the attenuation coefficient of the ultrasonic waves scattered by the grains. The results also show that the scattering regimes of ultrasonic waves depend heavily on the ratio of wavelength to average grain size, and are dominated by grains of extraordinarily large size along the wave propagation path.
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