A rate theory study of helium bubble formation and retention in Cu-Nb nanocomposites

AY Dunn and MG McPhie and L Capolungo and E Martinez and M Cherkaoui, JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS, 435, 141-152 (2013).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2012.12.041

A spatially dependent rate theory model for helium migration, clustering, and trapping on interfaces between Cu and Nb layers is introduced to predict the evolution of the concentrations of He clusters of various sizes during implantation and early annealing. Migration and binding energies of point defects and small clusters in bulk Cu and Nb are found using conjugate gradient minimization and the nudged elastic band method. This model is implemented in a three-dimensional framework and used to predict the relationship between helium bubble formation and the nano-composite microstructure, including interfacial free volume, grain size, and layer thickness. Interstitial and vacancy-like migration of helium is considered. The effects of changing layer thickness and interfacial misfit dislocation density on the threshold for helium bubble nucleation are found to match experiments. Accelerated helium release due to interfaces and grain boundaries is shown to occur only when diffusion rates on interfaces and grain boundaries are greatly increased relative to the bulk material. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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