Loughborough University
Thesis-2017-Wootton.pdf (20.34 MB)

Radiation damage in advanced materials for next generation nuclear power plants

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posted on 2017-10-02, 09:25 authored by Mark J. Wootton
The ageing state of the world's nuclear power infrastructure, and the need to reduce humanity s dependency on fossil fuels, requires that this electrical energy generating capacity is replaced. Economic factors, and its physical and chemical properties, make high purity iron-chromium binary alloys a strong candidate for use in the construction of the pressure vessels of the next generation of nuclear reactors. This relatively inexpensive metal retains the oxidation resistance property of so-called stainless steel alloys, and has demonstrated dimensional stability and low degradation under harsh experimental environments of temperature and radiation. In this work, we consider radiation induced interstitial damage to the atomic lattices of iron-chromium binary alloys using the atomistic modelling methods, Molecular Dynamics and Adaptive Kinetic Monte Carlo, simulating collision cascade sequences, and the migration of defects in the aftermath. Variations in chromium content does not effect the initial damage production in terms of the number of Frenkel pairs produced, but iron and chromium atoms are not evenly distributed in defect atoms with respect to the bulk concentration. In simulations conducted at low temperature, chromium is under-represented, and at high temperature, a greater proportion of interstitial atoms are chromium than in the lattice overall. The latter phenomena is most strongly pronounced in systems of low bulk chromium content. During the simulation of post-cascade defect migration, interstitials atoms are observed to form temporary clusters and vacancies align along adjacent lattice sites, with the two types of defect also migrating to annihilate by recombination. Calculating the energy spectra of cascade events corresponding to an example experimental configuration using the SRIM package, we investigated the evolution of lattice systems in which a sequence of multiple cascade events occurred, both with and without a physically representative time gap between events. These simulations gave us the opportunity to observe the behaviour of cascades in the proximity of damage remaining from previous events, such as the promotion of defect clustering when this occurs.





  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Materials


© Mark James Wootton

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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