Molecular dynamics simulations of intergranular fracture in UO2 with nine empirical interatomic potentials

Yongfeng Zhang, Paul C. Millett, Michael R. Tonks, Xian Ming Bai, S. Bulent Biner

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    35 Scopus citations


    The intergranular fracture behavior of UO2 was studied using molecular dynamics simulations with a bicrystal model. The anisotropic fracture behavior due to the different grain boundary characters was investigated with the 〈100〉 symmetrical tilt Σ5 and the 〈110〉 symmetrical tilt Σ3 ({1 1 1} twin) grain boundaries. Nine interatomic potentials, seven rigid-ion plus two core-shell ones, were utilized to elucidate possible potential dependence. Initiating from a notch, crack propagation along grain boundaries was observed for most potentials. The Σ3 boundary was found to be more prone to fracture than the Σ5 one, indicated by a lower energy release rate associated with the former. However, some potential dependence was identified on the existence of transient plastic deformation at crack tips, and the results were discussed regarding the relevant material properties including the excess energies of metastable phases and the critical energy release rate for intergranular fracture. In general, local plasticity at crack tips was observed in fracture simulations with potentials that predict low excess energies for metastable phases and high critical energy release rates for intergranular fracture.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)296-303
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    Issue number1-3
    StatePublished - Sep 2014

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • General Materials Science
    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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