Phase Field Modeling of Helium Precipitate Networks on Solid-state Interfaces

D. Yuryev[1], M. Demkowicz [1]
[1]Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
Published in 2013

We describe simulations performed in COMSOL Multiphysics® of the precipitation of helium (He) on solid-state interfaces. The non-uniform precipitation of He at certain interfaces is a result of a heterogeneous energy distribution in the interface plane: He wets high interface energy (“heliophilic”) regions but does not wet low interface energy (“heliophobic”) ones. Using a phase-field model, which we implement in COMSOL, we simulate the growth, coalescence, and stability of He networks on planar interfaces with patterned energy distributions. A layer of a metal nanocomposite containing helium bubbles is modeled using a phase-field method. Our work leads to interface design criteria that may be used in the design of structural materials with increased resistance to He damage, which is a major concern in nuclear energy applications.