Neutron irradiation in nuclear reactors can cause significant deformation of structural reactor components and nuclear fuel cladding. This is a problem which can affect reactor operations and reliability.
A recent collaborative study initiated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Materials Design has shown how large-scale atomistic modeling can provide unique insight into radiation-induced microstructural evolution and deformation of nuclear structural materials.
Authors Mikael Christensen, Walter Wolf, Clive Freeman, Erich Wimmer, Ron Adamson, Malcolm Griffiths and Erik Mader have performed simulations using MedeA LAMMPS to assess the role of irradiation induced defects, specifically vacancy dislocation loops. Their study shows that kinetic effects control the evolution of different types of vacancy dislocation loops.
View Vacancy Loops in Breakaway Irradiation Growth of Zirconium: Insight from Atomistic Simulations ( https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnucmat.2019.151946 )