Effect of thorium addition on the thermophysical properties of uranium dioxide: Atomistic simulations

HX Xiao and CS Long and XF Tian and HS Chen, MATERIALS & DESIGN, 96, 335-340 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2016.02.019

The effect of thorium addition on the thermophysical properties of uranium dioxide has been systematically investigated by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation technique in the whole concentration range of thorium and in the temperature range from 300 K to 2100 K. The Born- Mayer-Huggins (BMH) interatomic potential with the partially ionic model (PIM) was used and the potential parameters of thorium ion are derived from the experimental lattice constants data of thorium dioxide by the three point method. The predicted lattice parameter, thermal expansion coefficient, enthalpy, specific heat capacity, and thermal conductivity for the U1-yThyO2 solid solution all agree well with the available experimental data. The results indicate a significant effect of thorium content on the thermophysical properties of the U1-yThyO2 solid solution. The lattice parameters are increasing with the thorium content and closely followed Vegard's law, while the thermal expansion coefficient and enthalpy as well as specific heat capacity decrease very clearly with the thorium content. On the other hand, it is found that the U1-yThyO2 solid solution exhibits lower thermal conductivity than both the pure UO2 and ThO2. Additionally, a series of consistent equations for the thermophysical properties of U1-yThyO2 solid solution are recommended based on the MD data. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Return to Publications page