Molecular dynamics simulations of He bubble nucleation at grain boundaries

YF Zhang and PC Millett and M Tonks and LZ Zhang and B Biner, JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER, 24, 305005 (2012).

DOI: 10.1088/0953-8984/24/30/305005

The nucleation behavior of He bubbles in single-crystal (sc) and nano- grain body-centered-cubic (bcc) Mo is simulated using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, focusing on the effects of the grain boundary (GB) structure. In sc Mo, the nucleation behavior of He bubbles depends on irradiation conditions. He bubbles nucleate by either clustering of He atoms with pre-existing vacancies or self-interstitial-atom (SIA) punching without initial vacancies. In nano-grain Mo, strong precipitation of He at the GBs is observed, and the density, size and spatial distribution of He bubbles vary with the GB structure. The corresponding He bubble density is higher in nano-grain Mo than that in sc Mo and the average bubble size is smaller. In the GB plane, He bubbles distribute along the dislocation cores for GBs consisting of GB dislocations and randomly for those without distinguishable dislocation structures. The simulation results in nano-grain Mo are in agreement with previous experiments in metal nano-layers, and they are further explained by the effect of excess volume associated with the GBs.

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