Energetics of vacancy segregation to 100 symmetric tilt grain boundaries in bcc tungsten

NJ Chen and LL Niu and Y Zhang and XL Shu and HB Zhou and S Jin and G Ran and GH Lu and F Gao, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6, 36955 (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/srep36955

The harsh irradiation environment poses serious threat to the structural integrity of leading candidate for plasma-facing materials, tungsten (W), in future nuclear fusion reactors. It is thus essential to understand the radiation-induced segregation of native defects and impurities to defect sinks, such as grain boundaries (GBs), by quantifying the segregation energetics. In this work, molecular statics simulations of a range of equilibrium and metastable 100 symmetric tilt GBs are carried out to explore the energetics of vacancy segregation. We show that the low-angle GBs have larger absorption length scales over their high-angle counterparts. Vacancy sites that are energetically unfavorable for segregation are found in all GBs. The magnitudes of minimum segregation energies for the equilibrium GBs vary from -2.61 eV to -0.76 eV depending on the GB character, while those for the metastable GB states tend to be much lower. The significance of vacancy delocalization in decreasing the vacancy segregation energies and facilitating GB migration has been discussed. Metrics such as GB energy and local stress are used to interpret the simulation results, and correlations between them have been established. This study contributes to the possible application of polycrystalline W under irradiation in advanced nuclear fusion reactors.

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