Atomic-scale investigation of the effect of surface carbon coatings on the oxidation and mechanical properties of iron nanowires
G Aral and MM Islam, NEW JOURNAL OF CHEMISTRY, 45, 21763-21774 (2021).
The understanding of the complex atomistic-scale mechanisms of the oxidation process of carbon (C) coated iron nanowires (Fe NW) and also the resulting modulation of mechanical properties is a highly challenging task. We perform reactive molecular dynamics (RMD) simulations based on the ReaxFF force field to investigate the mechanisms of the oxidation process of 001-oriented pristine cylindrical Fe NWs with and without a C coating in an O-2 environment in order to obtain detailed insights into the influences of the surface C coating on the oxidation process at room temperature. Here, we show that the C-coated shell layer on the free surface of pristine Fe NWs partially controls the spontaneous oxidation when exposed to O-2 molecules by hindering the absorption-dissociation of O-2 molecules and diffusion of O ions into the shell layer. In particular, the surface modification of the pristine Fe NW with the C-coated shell layer has pronounced effects on the improvement of oxidation resistance by lowering the surface reactivity, which limits the formation of an oxide shell layer on the free surface of the NW. The formation of strong Fe-C bonds in the C-coated shell layer largely restrains the oxidation process. Furthermore, to examine the influence of the C-coated shell layer on the resulting modulation of mechanical properties of the pristine Fe NW, we systematically investigate the mechanical deformation processes and related properties of Fe NW with and without a C coating including their oxidized counterparts subjected to both uniaxial tensile and compressive loads at room temperature. The yield stress and strain (the elastic limit) of Fe NWs including the elastic and plastic deformation phase of the stress-strain relationship are found to be sensitive to the loading modes, the existence of the C-coated shell layer and the resulting formation of an oxide shell layer on the surface of the C-coated Fe NW.
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