A pair of reports from Los Alamos National Laboratory this week in the “Nature” journal “Scientific Reports” are helping crack the code of how certain materials respond in the highly-damaging radiation environments within a nuclear reactor.
The goal of these efforts is to understand at an atomistic level just how materials develop defects during irradiation, and how those defects evolve to determine the ultimate fate of the material.
“The new insights provided by these studies will aid in both predicting and designing materials for improved performance and ultimately cost savings for nuclear energy production,” said Blas Uberuaga, lead author of one of the reports.
Together, these results highlight the complex behavior of defects even in the simplest of materials. Further, “they provide insight into how defects evolve, properties that must be accounted for in predicting the performance of materials under irradiation,” said Enrique Martinez Saez, lead author of the second report.
The first report is “The relationship between grain boundary structure, defect mobility, and grain boundary sink efficiency,” which was authored by Uberuaga, Martinez Saenz, Louis Vernon and Arthur F. Voter.