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Home   /   Post Doctorat   /   Calculation of the thermal conductivity of UO2 fuel and the influence of irradiation defects

Calculation of the thermal conductivity of UO2 fuel and the influence of irradiation defects

Condensed matter physics, chemistry & nanosciences Solid state physics, surfaces and interfaces Theoretical physics


Atomistic simulations of the behaviour of nuclear fuel under irradiation can give access to its thermal properties and their evolution with temperature and irradiation. Knowledge of the thermal conductivity of 100% dense oxide can now be obtained by molecular dynamics and the interatomic force constants[1] at the single crystal scale, but the effect of defects induced by irradiation (irradiation loop, cluster of gaps) or even grain boundaries (ceramic before irradiation) remain difficult to evaluate in a coupled way.
The ambition is now to include defects in the supercells and to calculate their effect on the force constants. Depending on the size of the defects considered, we will use either the DFT or an empirical or numerical potential to perform the molecular dynamics. AlmaBTE allows the calculation of phonon scattering by point defects [2] and the calculation of phonon scattering by dislocations and their transmission at an interface have also recently been implemented. Thus, the chaining atomistic calculations/AlmaBTE will make it possible to determine the effect of the polycrystalline microstructure and irradiation defects on the thermal conductivity. At the end of this post-doc, the properties obtained will be used in the existing simulation tools in order to estimate the conductivity of a volume element (additional effect of the microstructure, in particular of the porous network, FFT method), data which will finally be integrated into the simulation of the behavior of the fuel element under irradiation.
The work will be carried out at the Nuclear Fuel Department of the CEA, in a scientific environment characterised by a high level of expertise in materials modelling, in close collaboration with other CEA teams in Grenoble and in the Paris region who are experts in atomistic calculations. The results will be promoted through scientific publications and participation in international congresses.
[1] Bottin, F., Bieder, J., Bouchet, J. A-TDE


Département d’Etudes des Combustibles
Service d’Etudes de Simulation du Comportement du combustibles
Laboratoire de Modélisation Multi-échelles des Combustibles
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