Knowledge of thermal expansion and high temperature phase transformations is essential for prediction and interpretation of materials behavior under the extreme conditions of high temperature and intense radiation encountered in nuclear reactors. Structure and thermal expansion of Lu2O3 and Yb2O3 were studied in oxygen and argon atmospheres up to their melting temperatures using synchrotron X-ray diffraction on laser heated levitated samples. Both oxides retained the cubic bixbyite C-type structure in oxygen and argon to melting. In contrast to fluorite-type structures, the increase in the unit cell parameter of Yb2O3 and Lu2O3 with temperature is linear within experimental error from room temperature to the melting point, with mean thermal expansion coefficients (8.5 ± 0.6) · 10−6 K−1 and (7.7 ± 0.6) · 10−6 K−1, respectively. There is no indication of a superionic (Bredig) transition in the C-type structure or of a previously suggested Yb2O3 phase transformation to hexagonal phase prior to melting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering