Long-term microstructural evolution of tungsten under heat and neutron loads

A. Mannheim, J.A.W. van Dommelen (Corresponding author), M.G.D. Geers

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In nuclear fusion reactors, tungsten will be exposed to high neutron loads at high temperatures (>900 °C). The evolution and degradation of the mechanical properties under these conditions is uncertain and therefore constitutes a major risk. Here, the microstructural evolution of tungsten under combined heat and neutron loads is explored, using a multi-scale approach incorporating clusters dynamics and a mean-field recrystallization model. The mean-field recrystallization model contains both nucleation in the bulk and at the grain boundaries. The cluster dynamics model includes the incorporation of loops in the dynamics of the dislocation network as a mechanism. The effects of bulk nucleation on the microstructural evolution are explored. The simulations predict a cyclically occurring neutron-induced recrystallization at all studied temperatures. Furthermore, the evolution of the irradiation hardening during neutron-induced recrystallization is assessed from the simulated microstructures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109146
Number of pages19
JournalComputational Materials Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Cluster dynamics
  • Grain growth
  • Mean-field modelling
  • Neutron irradiation
  • Recrystallization
  • Tungsten

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