Size and temperature dependent stability and phase transformation in single-crystal zirconium nanowire

VK Sutrakar and DR Mahapatra, JOURNAL OF NANOPARTICLE RESEARCH, 13, 5335-5346 (2011).

DOI: 10.1007/s11051-011-0519-4

A novel size dependent FCC (face-centered-cubic) -> HCP (hexagonally- closed-pack) phase transformation and stability of an initial FCC zirconium nanowire are studied. FCC zirconium nanowires with cross- sectional dimensions < 20 are found unstable in nature, and they undergo a FCC -> HCP phase transformation, which is driven by tensile surface stress induced high internal compressive stresses. FCC nanowire with cross-sectional dimensions > 20 , in which surface stresses are not enough to drive the phase transformation, show meta-stability. In such a case, an external kinetic energy in the form of thermal heating is required to overcome the energy barrier and achieve FCC -> HCP phase transformation. The FCC-HCP transition pathway is also studied using Nudged Elastic Band (NEB) method, to further confirm the size dependent stability/metastability of Zr nanowires. We also show size dependent critical temperature, which is required for complete phase transformation of a metastable-FCC nanowire.

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