Thermal conductivity of tungsten: Effects of plasma-related structural defects from molecular-dynamics simulations

L Hu and BD Wirth and D Maroudas, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 111, 081902 (2017).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4986956

We report results on the lattice thermal conductivities of tungsten single crystals containing nanoscale-sized pores or voids and helium (He) nanobubbles as a function of void/bubble size and gas pressure in the He bubbles based on molecular-dynamics simulations. For reference, we calculated lattice thermal conductivities of perfect tungsten single crystals along different crystallo-graphic directions at room temperature and found them to be about 10% of the overall thermal conductivity of tungsten with a weak dependence on the heat flux direction. The presence of nanoscale voids in the crystal causes a significant reduction in its lattice thermal conductivity, which decreases with increasing void size. Filling the voids with He to form He nanobubbles and increasing the bubble pressure leads to further significant reduction of the tungsten lattice thermal conductivity, down to similar to 20% of that of the perfect crystal. The anisotropy in heat conduction remains weak for tungsten single crystals containing nanoscale-sized voids and He nanobubbles throughout the pressure range examined. Analysis of the pressure and atomic displacement fields in the crystalline region that surrounds the He nanobubbles reveals that the significant reduction of tungsten lattice thermal conductivity in this region is due to phonon scattering from the nanobubbles, as well as lattice deformation around the nanobubbles and formation of lattice imperfections at higher bubble pressure. Published by AIP Publishing.

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