Grain boundary phases in bcc metals

T Frolov and W Setyawan and RJ Kurtz and J Marian and AR Oganov and RE Rudd and Q Zhu, NANOSCALE, 10, 8253-8268 (2018).

DOI: 10.1039/c8nr00564h

We report a computational discovery of novel grain boundary structures and multiple grain boundary phases in elemental body-centered cubic (bcc) metals represented by tungsten, tantalum and molybdenum. While grain boundary structures created by the -surface method as a union of two perfect half crystals have been studied extensively, it is known that the method has limitations and does not always predict the correct ground states. Herein, we use a newly developed computational tool, based on evolutionary algorithms, to perform a grand-canonical search of high-angle symmetric tilt and twist boundaries, and we find new ground states and multiple phases that cannot be described using the conventional structural unit model. We use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to demonstrate that the new structures can coexist at finite temperature in a closed system, confirming that these are examples of different grain boundary phases. The new ground state is confirmed by first-principles calculations.

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