Structure of a hydrogen (cyan and blue atoms) nanobubble in tungsten (gray atoms, partially shown) predicted by the research model.
Credit: HOU Jie A five-year collaborative study by Chinese and Canadian scientists has produced a theoretical model via computer simulation to predict properties of hydrogen nanobubbles in metal.
These hydrogen atoms can be readily trapped inside nanoscale voids ("nanovoids") in metals created either during manufacturing or by neutron irradiation in the fusion reactor.
These nanobubbles get bigger and bigger under internal hydrogen pressure and finally lead to metal failure.
Following these rules, the team created a model that accurately predicts properties of hydrogen nanobubbles and accords well with recent experimental observations.
Just as hydrogen fills nanovoids in metals, this research fills a long-standing void in understanding how hydrogen nanobubbles form in metals.
model of hydrogen trapping and bubbling in nanovoids in bcc metals, Nature Materials (2019).