The Evolution of Structural Defects under Irradiation in W by Molecular Dynamics Simulation

RX Zheng and WJ Xuan and JJ Xie and SS Chen and LQ Yang and L Zhang, MATERIALS, 16, 4414 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/ma16124414

Tungsten (W) can be used in plasma-facing components in a fusion reactor because of its excellent radiation resistance. Some studies have found that nanocrystalline metals with a high density of grain boundary show a higher ability to resist radiation damage compared to conventional coarse-grained materials. However, the interaction mechanism between grain boundary and defect is still unclear. In the present study, molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to explore the difference of defect evolution in single-crystal and bicrystal W, while the effects of temperature and the energy of the primary knocked atom (PKA) were taken into account. The irradiation process was simulated at the temperature range of 300 to 1500 K, and the PKA energy varied from 1 to 15 keV. The results show that the generation of defects is more sensitive to the energy of PKA than temperature; the number of defects increases at the thermal spike stage with the increase of the PKA energy, but the correlation with temperature is not strong. The presence of the grain boundary prevented the recombination of interstitial atoms and vacancies during the collision cascades, and the vacancies were more likely to form large clusters than interstitial atoms in the bicrystal models. This can be ascribed to the strong segregation tendency of the interstitial atoms to grain boundaries. The simulations provide useful information for understanding the role of grain boundaries in the evolution of irradiated structural defects.

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