Generation of the TSL for Zirconium Hydrides from Ab Initio Methods


Jonathan Wormald, Michael Zerkle, Jesse Holmes

J. Nucl. Eng. 2021, 2(2), 105-113

Zirconium hydride (ZrHx) is a moderator material used in TRIGA and other reactors that may exist in multiple phases with varying stoichiometry, which include the δ phase and the ϵ phase. Current ENDF/B-VIII.0 ZrHx thermal scattering law (TSL) evaluations do not distinguish between phases. These sub-libraries were generated with the LEAPR module of NJOY using historic phonon spectra derived from a central force model and assume incoherent elastic scattering for both bound hydrogen and zirconium, which neglects the effects of crystal structures important for scattering from zirconium bound in ZrHx. In this work, the TSLs for hydrogen and zirconium bound in δ-ZrHx and ϵ-ZrH2 were generated from phonon spectra derived from modern ab initio lattice dynamics methods and ab initio molecular dynamics. Subsequently, TSLs for hydrogen and zirconium in ZrHx and ZrH2 were generated using the Full Law Analysis Scattering System Hub (FLASSH) code. The built-in generalized coherent elastic routine was used to generate the previously neglected elastic contribution from zirconium for this material. The present TSLs provide both a re-evaluation of the current ZrH sub-libraries and expansion of the set of TSLs available for the examination of neutrons in systems with zirconium hydride, permitting explicit treatment of δ and ϵ phases.