Discovery of a maximum damage structure for Xe-irradiated borosilicate glass ceramics containing powellite
In order to increase the waste loading efficiency in nuclear waste glasses, alternate glass ceramic (GC) materials are sought that trap problematic molybdenum in a water-durable CaMoO4 phase within a borosilicate glass matrix. In order to test the radiation resistance of these candidate wasteforms, accelerated external radiation can be employed to replicate long-term damage. In this study, several glasses and GCs were synthesized with up to 10 mol% MoO3 and subjected to 92 MeV Xe ions with fluences ranging between 5 × 10^12 to 1.8 × 10^14 ions/cm2. The main mechanisms of modification following irradiation involve: (i) thermal and defect-assisted diffusion, (ii) relaxation from the ion's added energy, (iii) localized damage recovery from overlapping ion tracks, and (iv) the accumulation of point defects or the formation of voids that created significant strain and led to longer-range modifications. Most significantly, a saturation in alteration could be detected for fluences greater than 4 × 10^13 ions/cm2, which represents an average structure that is representative of the maximum damage state from these competing mechanisms. The results from this study can therefore be used for long-term structural projections in the development of more complex GCs for nuclear waste applications.