Thermophysical and anion diffusion properties of (U x ,Th1-x )O2.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Michael W D Cooper
  • Samuel T Murphy
  • Paul C M Fossati
  • Michael J D Rushton
    Imperial College London
  • Robin W Grimes
Using molecular dynamics, the thermophysical properties of the (U x ,Th1-x )O2 system have been investigated between 300 and 3600 K. The thermal dependence of lattice parameter, linear thermal expansion coefficient, enthalpy and specific heat at constant pressure is explained in terms of defect formation and diffusivity on the oxygen sublattice. Vegard's law is approximately observed for solid solution thermal expansion below 2000 K. Different deviations from Vegard's law above this temperature occur owing to the different temperatures at which the solid solutions undergo the superionic transition (2500-3300 K). Similarly, a spike in the specific heat, associated with the superionic transition, occurs at lower temperatures in solid solutions that have a high U content. Correspondingly, oxygen diffusivity is higher in pure UO2 than in pure ThO2. Furthermore, at temperatures below the superionic transition, oxygen mobility is notably higher in solid solutions than in the end members. Enhanced diffusivity is promoted by lower oxygen-defect enthalpies in (U x ,Th1-x )O2 solid solutions. Unlike in UO2 and ThO2, there is considerable variety of oxygen vacancy and oxygen interstitial sites in solid solutions generating a wide range of property values. Trends in the defect enthalpies are discussed in terms of composition and the lattice parameter of (U x ,Th1-x )O2.


  • anion diffusion, bulk modulus, nuclear fuel, specific heat, thermal expansion, uranium dioxide
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20140427
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings. Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
Issue number2171
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes
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