Temperature-dependent model of helium bubble expansion and bursting in tungsten

BF Lee and KD Hammond, JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS, 554, 153101 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2021.153101

Continuum-scale models that can reliably predict the behavior of helium in tungsten are of interest to the fusion community due to the projected impact of these materials on fusion reactor operation. We perform molecular dynamics simulations of spherical helium bubbles of various sizes in tungsten at different temperatures and depths with the goal of determining a mathematical model of the pressure and density at which the bubbles initially expand or burst as a function of depth, size, temperature, and surface orientation. The bubbles are small enough that their loop-punching pressures cannot be accurately predicted with continuum mechanics, and their expansion behavior is important, as it appears to cause many of the features observed on helium-irradiated tungsten surfaces. We vary the temperature, bubble size, bubble depth, and surface orientation in each case, recording the bubble pressure and density that result in bubble expansion. An exponential function with three adjustable parameters is found to fit the results well; the parameters that best fit our results are provided. (c) 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V.

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