A phase field study of the thermal migration of gas bubbles in UO2 nuclear fuel under temperature gradient

Yafeng Wang, Zhihua Xiao, Shenyang Hu, Yulan Li, San Qiang Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Phase field models are developed to study the gas bubble migration in uranium dioxide nuclear fuel in which a large temperature gradient exists during the operation. In this work, thermal diffusion mechanism for nanosized gas bubbles and vapor transport process for micron-sized gas bubbles are considered, respectively. In both cases, gas bubbles migrate to the high-temperature area. Due to the velocity difference between leading and trailing edges of the gas bubbles, nanosized gas bubbles are elongated along the temperature gradient direction when thermal diffusion is dominated. Micron-sized gas bubbles are either compressed along temperature gradient direction to form lenticular shape bubbles or elongated along temperature gradient direction, depending on the location of the gas bubbles within the fuel pellet. Initial gas bubble radius has no significant effect on the gas bubble migration velocity for both thermal diffusion and vapor transport mechanisms. We notice that the shape change of the gas bubble due to vapor transport mechanism has no significant effect on the migration velocity. Furthermore, the center cavity formation is also captured by our model which is due to the migration and accumulation of lenticular gas bubbles at the center of the fuel pellet. The modeling results compare well with experimental observations and theoretical analysis in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109817
JournalComputational Materials Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Gas bubble migration
  • Quantitative phase-field modeling
  • Temperature gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computational Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'A phase field study of the thermal migration of gas bubbles in UO2 nuclear fuel under temperature gradient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this