Reduced grain boundary energies in rare-earth doped MgAl2O4 spinel and consequent grain growth inhibition

MM Hasan and PP Dholabhai and S Dey and BP Uberuaga and RHR Castro, JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN CERAMIC SOCIETY, 37, 4043-4050 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2017.04.073

Grain growth inhibition in MgAl2O4 spinel nanostructure was achieved by grain boundary (GB) segregation of rare-earth dopants. Microcalorimetric measurements showed that dense spinel compacts doped with 3 mol% of R2O3 (R=Y, Gd, and La) had decreased GB energies as compared to the undoped spinel, representing reduction in the driving force for grain growth. Segregation energies of the three dopants to the Sigma 3 (111) GB were calculated by atomistic simulation. The dopants with higher ionic radius tend to segregate more strongly to GBs. The GB energies were calculated from atomistic simulation and, consistent with experiments, a systematic reduction in GB energy with dopant ionic size was found. High temperature grain growth experiments revealed a significant reduction of grain growth in the doped nanostructures as compared to the undoped one, which was attributed to increased metastability or possibly also a GB dragging originated from the dopant segregation. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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