The present work was initiated to investigate the stability, structural and thermodynamic properties of transition metal carbides, nitrides and carbo-nitrides by atomistic simulations and experimentations.
The interatomic pair potentials of Cr-Cr, Mn-Mn, Fe-Fe, C-C, Cr-C, Mn-C, Fe-C, Cr-Fe, Cr-N and Mn-N were inverted by the lattice inversion method and ab initio cohesive energies, and then employed to investigate the properties of Cr-, Mn- and Fe-carbides by atomistic simulations in this work.
For the binary M7C3 carbide, the structural properties of M7C3 (M = Cr, Mn, Fe) were investigated by atomistic simulations. The results show that the stable structure for these compounds is hexagonal structure with P63mc space group. The cohesive energy of M7C3 calculated in this work indicates that the stability of carbides decreases with the increasing in metal atomic number. Further, the vibrational entropy of Cr7C3 was calculated at different temperatures and compared with the entropy obtained by experimentations. The comparison demonstrates that the main contribution to the entropy is made by the vibrational entropy.
For the binary τ-carbides, the structural properties of Cr23C6 and Mn23C6, as well as the vibrational entropy of Cr23C6 were computed. Further, the site preference of ternary element Fe among 4a, 8c, 32f and 48h symmetry sites in Cr23-xFexC6 was studied. It has been seen that Fe atoms would firstly occupy 4a sites and then 8c sites. The lattice constant and stability of Cr23-xFexC6 were also computed with different Fe content.
In order to understand the relative stability of the transition metal carbides and nitrides, the standard formation Gibbs energies of carbides and nitrides for Cr, Mn and Fe were compared. The order of carbon and nitrogen affinities for Cr, Mn and Fe was further clarified by the comparison of the interatomic pair potentials among Cr-C, Mn-C, Fe-C, Cr-N and Mn-N. It was found that Cr-N interaction was very strong in comparison with other binary interactions above and consequently, nitrogen addition would lead to a strong decrease in the thermodynamic activity of chromium in Cr-containing alloys. This was confirmed by the investigations of thermodynamic activities of Cr in the Fe-Cr-N and Fe-Cr-C-N alloys.
The activities were measured in the temperature range 973-1173 K by solid-state galvanic cell method involving CaF2 solid electrolyte under the purified N2 gas. In addition, the analysis of nitrogen content and phase relationships in the Fe-Cr-N and Fe-Cr-C-N alloys equilibrated at 1173 K were carried out by inert-gas fusion thermal conductivity method, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy technique. The experimental results show that the solubility of nitrogen in the alloys decreases with the decreasing chromium content, as well as the increasing temperature. The addition of nitrogen to the alloys was found to have a strong negative impact on the Cr activity in Fe-Cr-N and Fe-Cr-C-N systems.
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , vii, 40 p.
Transition metal carbides, Transition metal nitrides, Transition metal carbo-nitrides, Lattice inversion method, Interatomic potential, Atomistic simulation