Anisotropic hydrogen diffusion in alpha-Zr and Zircaloy predicted by accelerated kinetic Monte Carlo simulations

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Springer Nature

This report presents an accelerated kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) method to compute the diffusivity of hydrogen in hcp metals and alloys, considering both thermally activated hopping and quantum tunneling. The acceleration is achieved by replacing regular KMC jumps in trapping energy basins formed by neighboring tetrahedral interstitial sites, with analytical solutions for basin exiting time and probability. Parameterized by density functional theory (DFT) calculations, the accelerated KMC method is shown to be capable of efficiently calculating hydrogen diffusivity in alpha-Zr and Zircaloy, without altering the kinetics of long-range diffusion. Above room temperature, hydrogen diffusion in alpha-Zr and Zircaloy is dominated by thermal hopping, with negligible contribution from quantum tunneling. The diffusivity predicted by this DFT + KMC approach agrees well with that from previous independent experiments and theories, without using any data fitting. The diffusivity along < c > is found to be slightly higher than that along < a >, with the anisotropy saturated at about 1.20 at high temperatures, resolving contradictory results in previous experiments. Demonstrated using hydrogen diffusion in alpha-Zr, the same method can be extended for on-lattice diffusion in hcp metals, or systems with similar trapping basins.

hydride precipitation, zirconium alloys, ab-initio, solubility, phase, coefficient, metals