In this work, chemical expansion in perovskite oxides was characterized in detail, motivated, inter alia, by a desire to understand the lower chemical expansion coefficients observed for perovskites in comparison to fluorite-structured oxides. Changes in lattice parameter and in local atomic arrangements taking place during compositional changes of perovskites, i.e., stoichiometric expansion, were investigated by developing an empirical model and through molecular dynamics and density functional theory atomistic simulations. An accurate empirical expression for predicting lattice constants of perovskites was developed, using a similar approach to previous reports. From this equation, analytical expressions relating chemical expansion coefficients to separate contributions from the cation and anion sublattices, assuming Shannon ionic radii, were developed and used to isolate the effective radius of an oxygen vacancy, rV. Using both experimental and simulated chemical expansion coefficient data, rV for a variety of perovskite compositions was estimated, and trends in rV were studied. In most cases, rV was slightly smaller than or similar to the radius of an oxide ion, but larger than in the fluorite structured materials. This result was in good agreement with the atomistic simulations, showing contractive relaxations of the closest oxide ions towards the oxygen vacancy. The results indicate that the smaller chemical expansion coefficients of perovskites vs. fluorites are largely due to the smaller change in cation radii in perovskites, given that the contraction around the oxygen vacancy appears to be less in this structure. Limitations of applicability for the model are discussed.
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