The impact of anharmonicity on the vibrational entropy and heat capacity of UO2 has been investigated from 10 to 1200 K using inelastic neutron-scattering measurements of the phonon density of states (PDOS). Small changes in the PDOS are observed from 10 to 295 K, with more noticeable changes appearing in the 750- and 1200-K data. The specific heat determined from the PDOS measurements is in agreement with macroscopic specific heat measurements, and the overall impact of nondilation anharmonicity on the specific heat has been shown to be less than 2%. An analysis of the phonon measurements shows that the softening of acoustic phonons with temperature is consistent with the quasiharmonic approximation. The optical phonons deviate from the quasiharmonic prediction, with the low-energy optical phonons between approximately 20 and 50 meV softening more than expected, while the higher-energy optical phonons between approximately 50 and 80 meV have no appreciable softening over the temperature range measured. The observation of a small anharmonic specific heat contribution has been shown to be the result of relatively large energy-dependent anharmonic effects which have opposite sign, leading to a total contribution near zero.



Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Entropy; Neutron scattering; Phonons; Thermal variables measurement; Thermoacoustics; Uranium dioxide, Acoustic phonons; Anharmonic effect; Energy dependent; Inelastic neutrons; Optical phonons; Phonon density of state; Temperature range; Vibrational entropy, Specific heat

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2019 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2019

Included in

Physics Commons