Molecular dynamics modeling of helium bubbles in austenitic steels
A Jelea, NUCLEAR INSTRUMENTS & METHODS IN PHYSICS RESEARCH SECTION B-BEAM INTERACTIONS WITH MATERIALS AND ATOMS, 425, 50-54 (2018).
The austenitic steel devices from pressurized water reactors are continuously subjected to neutron irradiation that produces crystalline point defects and helium atoms in the steel matrix. These species evolve into large defects such as dislocation loops and helium filled bubbles. This paper analyzes, through molecular dynamics simulations with recently developed interatomic potentials, the impact of the helium/steel interface on the helium behavior in nanosize bubbles trapped in an austenitic steel matrix. It is shown that the repulsive helium-steel interactions induce higher pressures in the bubble compared to bulk helium at the same temperature and average density. A new equation of state for helium is proposed in order to take into account these interface effects.
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