STRUCTURAL STABILITY OF IRRADIATION-INDUCED CAVITIES
|CRITICAL RADIUS; INDUCED VOIDS; Materials Science; Materials Science, Multidisciplinary; Nuclear Science & Technology
|ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
|JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS
The number of equilibrium radii of irradiation-induced cavities in core components of fast fission reactors as well as the first wall of fusion reactors is investigated. The well known rate theory model, yielding a bimodal cavity size distribution, is extended by incorporating a correction term to the cavity sink strength which is quadratic in the cavity radius. Thus, a highly nonlinear equation for the equilibrium cavity radius is established. Exploring this equation by means of catastrophe theory reveals the possibility of a bistable cavity size distribution for steel in fast fission environments. Phase diagrams visualize how the onset and disappearance of equilibrium states follows from varying the number of helium atoms contained in each cavity. A criterion on the irradiation and materials parameters for bistability to occur is derived. The value of the cascade collapse efficiency turns out to play an important role in the stability behaviour of the system.
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