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Self-trapping of carbon atoms in alpha '-Fe during the martensitic transformation: A qualitative picture from ab initio calculations
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Multiscale Materials Modelling.
2014 (English)In: Physical Review B. Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, ISSN 1098-0121, E-ISSN 1550-235X, Vol. 90, no 14, 144106- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Strain-induced and chemical interactions of interstitial carbon atoms in bcc or alpha-Fe are obtained in first-principles calculations. Subsequent Monte Carlo simulations show that at low temperatures, carbon atoms prefer to occupy at least two different octahedral sublattices, which is due to quite strong attractive interactions of carbon atoms at the corresponding coordination shells. The direct total-energy calculations of one of the obtained ordered structures with composition Fe16C2, show that it is more stable than the predicted earlier structure with the same composition but carbon atoms occupying only one octahedral sublattice. This indicates that the long-existing thermodynamic mean-field theory of ordering of carbon in alpha-Fe assuming strong preference of carbon atoms to occupy only one octahedral sublattice is deficient. It is shown that the presence of carbon atoms only at one octahedral sublattice in the experimentally observed martensitic phase, alpha'-Fe, is a self-trapping effect. It occurs during a displacive martensitic transformation from gamma- to alpha-Fe, which kinematically transfers the carbon atoms from a single fcc octahedral sublattice to one of three octahedral sublattices, where they appear to be locked by a consequent tetragonal distortion minimizing elastic energy of the phase. The latter creates a strong preference for carbon atoms to be only at one already occupied octahedral sublattice preventing them from further distribution over the other sublattices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 90, no 14, 144106- p.
National Category
Materials Engineering Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156113DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.144106ISI: 000343772900002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84908215012OAI: diva2:777902
Swedish Research CouncilVinnova

QC 20150109

Available from: 2015-01-09 Created: 2014-11-21 Last updated: 2015-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Ruban, Andrei V.
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