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Diffusion of hydrogen within idealized grains of bcc Fe: A kinetic Monte Carlo study
Structural defects in materials such as vacancies, grain boundaries, and dislocations may trap hydrogen and a local accumulation of hydrogen at these defects can lead to the degradation of the materials properties. An important aspect in obtaining insight into hydrogen-induced embrittlement on the atomistic level is to understand the diffusion of hydrogen in these materials. In our study we employ kinetic Monte Carlo (kMC) simulations to investigate hydrogen diffusion in bcc iron within different microstructures. All input data to the kMC model, such as available sites, solution energies, and diffusion barriers, are obtained from first-principles calculations. We find that hydrogen mainly diffuses within the interface region with an overall diffusivity that is lower than in pure bcc Fe bulk. The concentration dependence of the diffusion coefficient is strongly nonlinear and the diffusion coefficient may even decrease with an increasing hydrogen concentration. To describe the macroscopic diffusion coefficient we derive an analytic expression as a function of hydrogen concentrations and temperatures which is in excellent agreement with our numerical results for idealized microstructures.