Free energies of austenite and martensite Fe-C alloys: an atomistic study

E Sak-Saracino and HM Urbassek, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 94, 933-945 (2014).

DOI: 10.1080/14786435.2013.870359

We investigate the influence of C interstitials on the phase stability of Fe-C crystals. We employ the Meyer-Entel interatomic interaction potential which is able to reproduce the austenite-martensite phase transition for pure Fe, and supplement it by a simple pairwise Fe-C interaction potential. Using two different thermodynamic methods, we calculate the free energies of the martensite and austenite phases. We find that C destabilizes the ground-state bcc phase. The decrease in the equilibrium transformation temperature with increasing C content parallels the one found in the experiment. This destabilization is found even if C is added for a potential in which only the bcc phase is stable until the melting point; here, for sufficiently high C addition, a stable fcc phase is established in the phase diagram.

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