Effects of Al on the precipitation of B2 Cu-rich particles in Fe-Cu ferritic alloy: Experimental and theoretical study

HY Wang and XY Gao and SM Chen and YM Li and ZW Wu and HP Ren, JOURNAL OF ALLOYS AND COMPOUNDS, 846, 156386 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2020.156386

The fundamental mechanism of the precipitation kinetics and stability of nano-sized Cu-precipitates are crucial to the development of ultra-high strength low carbon ferritic steels. The effects of Al on the formation and stabilization of B2 Cu-rich precipitates in Fe-Cu based steels were studied using experimental method combining the first-principles calculations and molecular dynamics simulations. With increasing aging time, the Cu-rich particles with B2 structure precipitated in the ferritic matrix with cube-on-cube and coherent relationship, and Al addition leads to a relatively higher precipitation hardening effect. The first-principle calculations indicate that the metastable B2 FeCu phase has relatively higher mixing energy and small lattice mismatch with the ferritic matrix, and the addition of Al leads to the lower mixing energy of B2 precipitates and the B2 structure Fe(CuAl) compound possesses more smaller lattice mismatch with ferritic matrix. To better understanding the effect of Al on the evolution process of Cu-rich particles, it is essential to investigate the migration and clustering process of Cu atoms during the isothermal tempering at the atomic scale. To this end, we first developed a new interatomic potential of Fe-Cu-Al using the force-matching method based on ab initio calculations, then the formation and evolution of Cu clusters in the Fe-Cu-Al ternary were studied using molecular dynamics method with the new EAM potential. The simulation results indicate that Al addition promotes the clustering of Cu atoms due to the attractive interaction between Cu and Al atoms which enhances nucleation rate of the Cu-rich precipitates. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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