Interface dominated cooperative nanoprecipitation in interstitial alloys

HC Wang and X Zhang and DS Yan and C Somsen and G Eggeler, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 9, 4017 (2018).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06474-w

Steels belong to one of the best established materials, however, the mechanisms of various phase transformations down to the nano length scale are still not fully clear. In this work, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy is combined with atomistic simulations to study the nanoscale carbide precipitation in a Fe-Cr-C alloy. We identify a cooperative growth mechanism that connects host lattice reconstruction and interstitial segregation at the growing interface front, which leads to a preferential growth of cementite (Fe3C) nanoprecipitates along a particular direction. This insight significantly improves our understanding of the mechanisms of nanoscale precipitation in interstitial alloys, and paves the way for engineering nanostructures to enhance the mechanical performance of alloys.

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