Diffuse scattering as an indicator for martensitic variant selection

L Gao and XD Ding and HX Zong and T Lookman and J Sun and XB Ren and A Saxena, ACTA MATERIALIA, 66, 69-78 (2014).

DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2013.11.068

Diffuse scattering is an important precursor phenomenon prior to the martensitic transformation (MT). It is related to the correlated atomic position fluctuations prior to the MT and can provide important hints of the transformation mechanism. However, the role of this precursor phenomenon in the MT is not clear so far. Here we study the evolution of diffraction patterns prior to temperature- and stress-induced MTs and consider the evolution of atomic configurations during the whole MT process, using molecular dynamics simulations on a generic body-centered cubic hexagonal close-packed transformation as an example. Our results show that, although the diffuse scattering changes with external fields, there exists a general relationship between the transformation pathways, the diffuse scattering streaks and the martensitic products. Two preferred transformation pathways with opposite shuffle directions lead to a single specific diffuse scattering streak prior to the MT and form one pair of anti-variants after the MT. Thus the distribution of diffuse scattering acts as an indicator of the selection of martensitic variants. In addition, we find that the applied stress can change the shear order parameter of the phase transformation, and subsequently determines the preferred transformation pathways and the distribution of diffuse scattering streaks. This work establishes a relationship between the transformation mechanism, the precursor phenomenon and the products after the MT under the influence of external fields. (C) 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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