Percolation transitions in pyrochlore: Radiation-damage and thermally induced structural reorganization


Finite element mechanical modeling is used to follow the evolution of the hardness (H), Young's modulus (E), and Poisson's ratio (ν) during the radiation-damage related crystalline-to-amorphous transition in pyrochlore (average main composition Ca2Nb2O6F). According to the model, two percolation transitions have been identified around 16% and 84% amorphous volume fraction, respectively. In this context, earlier results from thermally induced recrystallization experiments have found to indicate noticeable modifications on the short- and long-range order by passing the percolation thresholds. Both percolation points have found to act as specific kinetic barriers during stepwise annealing induced structural reorganization. As phases with pyrochlore structure have been considered as host structures for the long-term disposal of actinides, it is essential to gain better knowledge of their mechanical behavior under radiation-damage and subsequent temperature treatment. The obtained results validate the used models' robustness in predicting radiation-damage related mechanical modifications, at least for ceramics.
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