DFT + U Study of the adsorption and dissociation of water on clean, defective, and oxygen-Covered U3Si2{001}, {110}, and {111} Surfaces

Ericmoore Jossou, Linu Malakkal, Nelson Y. Dzade, Antoine Claisse, Barbara Szpunar, Jerzy Szpunar

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12 Scopus citations


The interfacial interaction of U3Si2 with water leads to corrosion of nuclear fuels, which affects various processes in the nuclear fuel cycle. However, the mechanism and molecular-level insights into the early oxidation process of U3Si2 surfaces in the presence of water and oxygen are not fully understood. In this work, we present Hubbard-corrected density functional theory (DFT + U) calculations of the adsorption behavior of water on the low Miller indices of the pristine and defective surfaces as well as water dissociation and accompanied H2 formation mechanisms. The adsorption strength decreases in the order U3Si2{001} > U3Si2{110} > U3Si2{111} for both molecular and dissociative H2O adsorption. Consistent with the superior reactivity, dissociative water adsorption is most stable. We also explored the adsorption of H2O on the oxygen-covered U3Si2 surface and showed that the preadsorbed oxygen could activate the OH bond and speed up the dissociation of H2O. Generally, we found that during adsorption on the oxygen-covered, defective surface, multiple water molecules are thermodynamically more stable on the surface than the water monomer on the pristine surface. Mixed molecular and dissociative water adsorption modes are also noted to be stable on the {111} surface, whereas fully dissociative water adsorption is most stable on the {110} and {001} surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19453-19467
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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