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Title: Report on the Implementation of Homogeneous Nucleation Scheme in MARMOT-based Phase Field Simulation

In this report, we summarized our effort in developing mesoscale phase field models for predicting precipitation kinetics in alloys during thermal aging and/or under irradiation in nuclear reactors. The first part focused on developing a method to predict the thermodynamic properties of critical nuclei such as the sizes and concentration profiles of critical nuclei, and nucleation barrier. These properties are crucial for quantitative simulations of precipitate evolution kinetics with phase field models. Fe-Cr alloy was chosen as a model alloy because it has valid thermodynamic and kinetic data as well as it is an important structural material in nuclear reactors. A constrained shrinking dimer dynamics (CSDD) method was developed to search for the energy minimum path during nucleation. With the method we are able to predict the concentration profiles of the critical nuclei of Cr-rich precipitates and nucleation energy barriers. Simulations showed that Cr concentration distribution in the critical nucleus strongly depends on the overall Cr concentration as well as temperature. The Cr concentration inside the critical nucleus is much smaller than the equilibrium concentration calculated by the equilibrium phase diagram. This implies that a non-classical nucleation theory should be used to deal with the nucleation of Cr precipitates inmore » Fe-Cr alloys. The growth kinetics of both classical and non-classical nuclei was investigated by the phase field approach. A number of interesting phenomena were observed from the simulations: 1) a critical classical nucleus first shrinks toward its non-classical nucleus and then grows; 2) a non-classical nucleus has much slower growth kinetics at its earlier growth stage compared to the diffusion-controlled growth kinetics. 3) a critical classical nucleus grows faster at the earlier growth stage than the non-classical nucleus. All of these results demonstrated that it is critical to introduce the correct critical nuclei into phase field modeling in order to correctly capture the kinetics of precipitation. In most alloys the matrix phase and precipitate phase have different concentrations as well as different crystal structures. For example, Cu precipitates in FeCu alloys have fcc crystal structure while the matrix Fe-Cu solid solution has bcc structure at low temperature. The WBM model and KimS model, where both concentrations and order parameters are chosen to describe the microstructures, are commonly used to model precipitations in such alloys. The WBM and KimS models have not been implemented into Marmot yet. In the second part of this report, we focused on implementing the WBM and KimS models into Marmot. The Fe-Cu alloys, which are important structure materials in nuclear reactors, was taken as the model alloys to test the models.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
PNNL-22829; M2MS-13PN0602054
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
precipitation; non-classical nucleation; Fe alloys; phase field modeling; Marmot