Interaction of monoclinic ZrO2 grain boundaries with oxygen vacancies, Sn and Nb - implications for the corrosion of Zr alloy fuel cladding

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract

We used density-functional-theory simulations to examine the structural and electronic properties of the $Σ180°(100)[001] $ grain boundary in monoclinic ZrO$_2$, which is a very low-energy (0.06Jm$^{-2}$) twin boundary present in experimental oxide texture maps, with suggested special properties. This equilibrium structure was compared with a metastable structure (with a boundary energy of 0.32Jm$^{-2}$), which was considered to be representative of a more general oxide boundary. The interaction of oxygen vacancies, substitutional Sn and Nb defects (substituting host Zr sites) with both structures - and their effect on the boundary properties - were examined. We found that the equilibrium structure energetically favours V$_\textrm{O}^{2+}$ and Nb$_\textrm{Zr}^{2-}$, whereas the metastable structure favours V$_\textrm{O}^{2+}$ and Sn$_\textrm{Zr}^{2-}$. Tin was further found to bind strongly with oxygen vacancies in both structures, and introduce gap states in the band gap of their electronic structure. Sn$_\textrm{Zr}^{2-}$ was, however, found to increase the segregation preference of V$_\textrm{O}^{2+}$ for the metastable structure, which might contribute to increased oxygen and electron transport down this interface, and therefore other more general boundaries, compared to the equilibrium structure of the studied monoclinic twin boundary.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCornell University
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameArXiv.org
PublisherCornell University
ISSN (Print)2331-8422

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