A combined calorimetric and computational study of the energetics of rare earth substituted UO2 systems

Lei Zhang, Jonathan M. Solomon, Mark Asta, Alexandra Navrotsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Abstract The energetics of rare earth substituted UO2 solid solutions (U1-xLnxO2-0.5x+y, where Ln = La, Y, and Nd) are investigated employing a combination of calorimetric measurements and density functional theory based computations. Calculated and measured formation enthalpies agree within 10 kJ/mol for stoichiometric oxygen/metal compositions. To better understand the factors governing the stability and defect binding in rare earth substituted urania solid solutions, systematic trends in the energetics are investigated based on the present results and previous computational and experimental thermochemical studies of rare earth substituted fluorite oxides (A1-xLnxO2-0.5x, where A = Hf, Zr, Ce, and Th). A consistent trend towards increased energetic stability with larger size mismatch between the smaller host tetravalent cation and the larger rare earth trivalent cation is found for both actinide and non-actinide fluorite oxide systems where aliovalent substitution of Ln cations is compensated by oxygen vacancies. However, the large exothermic oxidation enthalpy in the UO2 based systems favors oxygen rich compositions where charge compensation occurs through the formation of uranium cations with higher oxidation states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12233
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Jul 14 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Calorimetry
  • DFT
  • Fluorite oxide
  • Formation enthalpy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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