Atomistic simulation of brittle-to-ductile transition in silicon carbide embedded with nano-sized helium bubbles

CL Pan and LM Zhang and WL Jiang and RS Wang and L Chen and TS Wang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, 56, 485301 (2023).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/acf2a9

The tensile response of cubic silicon carbide (SiC) bulk containing cavities (voids and He bubbles) has been investigated using molecular dynamic simulations. The formation of cavities in SiC leads to a significant degradation in the mechanical properties of SiC with more influence on material fracture than initial elastic deformation. The brittle-to-ductile transition occurs in cavity-embedded SiC as the pressure in He bubbles increases. This is associated with the deformation mechanism that bond breaking at a low He bubble pressure transfers to extensive dislocation activities at a higher He bubble pressure. The cavities can effectively concentrate stress around them in the direction perpendicular to the tension, which leads to preferred cracking in the region with a higher tensile stress. The failure mechanism as revealed by this study improves understanding of property degradation in SiC that may be useful for applications of SiC in advanced nuclear energy systems.

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