Mechanical instabilities in the modeling of phase transitions of titanium

D Dickel and CD Barrett and RL Carino and MI Baskes and MF Horstemeyer, MODELLING AND SIMULATION IN MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, 26, 065002 (2018).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-651X/aac95d

In this paper, we demonstrate that previously observed beta to a transitions for titanium interatomic potentials available in the literature arose from a mechanical instability and thus the potentials underestimated the correct thermodynamic phase transition temperature by hundreds of degrees. Using a relative free energy method for the two phases to calculate the true transition temperature, we present a new modified embedded atom method potential for titanium that shows a transition temperature of 1155 +/- 2 K in excellent agreement with the experimentally observed transition. This free energy approach avoids the problems of irreversibility which occur when one relies on direct observation of the phase transition in molecular dynamics simulation. Other transformation mechanisms in addition to the mechanical instability are also considered. Finally, the new potential predicts the proper c-axis plastic twinning for titanium under compression making it the only potential that correctly predicts the phase transition temperature and the plastic behavior of a Ti.

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