Stress corrosion phenomenon of BeO at room temperature and its mechanism: Experimental and molecular dynamics study

MD Hou and XW Zhou and B Liu, MATERIALS TODAY COMMUNICATIONS, 35, 106385 (2023).

DOI: 10.1016/j.mtcomm.2023.106385

Beryllium oxide (BeO) has recently regained attention as a material in nuclear reactors. However, as an oxide ceramic, it is susceptible to the effects of a water environment, which can impact its service performance. This paper presents an experiment on the stress corrosion behavior of BeO in a water environment at room temperature (RT), along with a discussion of the relevant mechanisms. The study first conducted flexural strength tests in three different environments: vacuum, air, and water. It then performed Vickers hardness tests in both air and water environments. The results of both tests indicated a significant decrease in the strength of BeO in water environment, even at RT. Furthermore, the use of Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) and molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the stress corrosion of BeO at RT was due to the breakage of the original Be-O bond, followed by the formation of a new Be-O bond with an O atom in H2O. This resulted in a reduction in the driving force needed for crack initiation and propagation. The findings of this study have practical implications for further research into the stress corrosion phenomenon of BeO at higher temperatures.

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