Effect of Interface Phase Transformations on Diffusion and Segregation in High-Angle Grain Boundaries

T Frolov and SV Divinski and M Asta and Y Mishin, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 110, 255502 (2013).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.255502

Recent experimental measurements of Ag impurity diffusion in the Sigma 5(310) grain boundary (GB) in Cu revealed an unusual non-Arrhenius behavior suggestive of a possible structural transformation Divinski et al., Phys. Rev. B 85, 144104 (2012). On the other hand, atomistic computer simulations have recently discovered phase transformations in high-angle GBs in metals Frolov et al., Nat. Commun. 4, 1899 (2013). In this Letter we report on atomistic simulations of Ag diffusion and segregation in two different structural phases of the Cu Sigma 5(310) GB which transform to each other with temperature. The obtained excellent agreement with the experimental data validates the hypothesis that the unusual diffusion behavior seen in the experiment was caused by a phase transformation. The simulations also predict that the low-temperature GB phase exhibits a monolayer segregation pattern while the high- temperature phase features a bilayer segregation. Together, the simulations and experiment provide the first convincing evidence for the existence of structural phase transformations in high-angle metallic GBs and demonstrate the possibility of their detection by GB diffusion measurements and atomistic simulations.

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