Collision cascades in metals produce small interstitial clusters and perfect dislocation loops that glide in thermally activated one-dimensional (1D) random walks. These gliding defects can change their Burgers vectors by thermal activation or by interactions with other defects. Their migration is therefore 'mixed 1D/3D migration' along a 3D path consisting of 1D segments, The defect reaction kinetics under mixed 1D/3D diffusion are different from pure 1D diffusion and pure 3D diffusion, both of which can be formulated within analytical rate theory models of microstructure evolution under irradiation. Atomic-scale kinetic Monte Carlo (kMC) defect migration simulations are used to investigate the effects of mixed 1D/3D migration on defect reaction kinetics as a guide for implementing mixed 1D/3D migration into the analytical rate theory. The functional dependence of the sink strength on the size and concentration of sinks under mixed 1D/3D migration is shown to lie between that for pure 1D and pure 3D migration and varies with L, the average distance between direction changes of the gliding defects. It is shown that the sink strength in simulations for spherical sinks of radius R under mixed 1D/3D migration for values of L greater than R can be approximated by an expression that varies directly as R-2. For small L, the form of the transition from mixed 1D/3D to pure 3D diffusion as L decreases is demonstrated in the simulations, the results of which can be used in the future development of an analytical expression describing this transition region. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.