Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Paul Millett

Committee Member

Rick Couvillion

Second Committee Member

Arun Nair


Applied sciences, Nuclear, Simulation, Sintering


Conventional ceramic oxide nuclear fuels are limited in their thermal and life-cycle properties. The desire to operate at higher burnups as is required by current utility economics has proven a formidable challenge for oxide fuel designs. Metallic formulations have superior thermal performance but are plagued by volumetric swelling due to fission gas buildup. In this study, we consider a number of specific microstructure configurations that have been experimentally shown to exhibit considerable resistance to porosity loss. Specifically, a void sizing that is bimodally distributed was shown to resist early pore loss and could provide collection sites for fission gas buildup. We employ the phase field model of Cahn and Hilliard, solved via the finite element method using the open source Multi-User Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) developed by INL.