Atomistic simulations of the effect of helium clusters on grain boundary mobility in iron

AT Wicaksono and M Militzer and CW Sinclair, 36TH RISO INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MATERIALS SCIENCE, 89, 012048 (2015).

DOI: 10.1088/1757-899X/89/1/012048

A series of molecular dynamics simulations was performed in this work to investigate the kinetic interaction between helium clusters and grain boundaries in iron. Helium cluster formation and size distributions were found to be markedly different in the bulk compared to the region of a stationary boundary. Upon reaching a steady-state cluster distribution, the spatial fluctuation of cluster-enriched boundaries was analyzed to determine the grain boundary mobility using the random walk method. Segregated clusters reduced the boundary mobility, the drag effect of clusters increasing as the bulk solute concentration increases. The drag effect was further rationalized by employing Cahn's solute drag model using the effective binding energy of He clusters and the grain boundary diffusivity of a single He atom, their magnitudes having been determined from the segregation level and from monitoring the trajectory of a solute atom in the investigated grain boundaries, respectively. The model is found to provide a satisfactory explanation of the simulation results in the zero velocity limit.

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