Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Shaowen Xu


With fossil fuels being depleted at a faster rate than ever, there has been an effort to convert fossil fuel energy to different forms of green energy. One of these forms is nuclear power, and while nuclear power itself is not new, new fuel sources for different types of reactors are being developed. This study aims to do computational experiments on Thorium Dioxide (a potential new nuclear fuel source) to look for the lowest grain boundary energy and what the effect of grain boundary conditions on the energy. Different orientations of the materials grain boundary were modeled and molecular dynamic simulations were performed with the molecular dynamics program LAMMPS. It is initially found that the grain boundary energy around differently oriented tilt boundaries were lower than Uranium. However, the view of the simulation showed that a different simulation was needed and more work is needed to get better results.