Nucleation and growth mechanisms of hcp domains in compressed iron

WW Pang and P Zhang and GC Zhang and AG Xu and XG Zhao, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 4, 5273 (2014).

DOI: 10.1038/srep05273

In our previous work, we have pointed out that the shock-induced phase transition in iron occurs with the help of interface energy which reduces the potential barrier between two phases. Here, through studying the nucleation and growth mechanisms of hcp domains in compressed iron, we find that the flatted-octahedral-structure (FOS) is the primary structural unit of the embryo nucleus and phase interface of hcp domains, and the interfacial energy is reduced via formation of FOSs. The phase transition process can be described by the following four stages: (i) Some atoms deviate from their equilibrium positions with the aid of thermal fluctuations to form FOSs with two different deformation directions in the local region; (ii) FOSs with different deformation directions aggregate to form a thin stratified structure like twin- crystal configuration; (iii) The thin stratified structure undergoes a relative slip to form the new hcp phase; (iv) The hcp phase domain grows up through the formation of new FOSs along the phase boundary. In addition, through comparing the time evolution curves of initial single phase domain, we find that the growth rate of single phase domain depends on the loading way and its occurrence time.

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