Hydrogen segregation to inclined Sigma 3 < 110 > twin grain boundaries in nickel

CJ O'Brien and SM Foiles, PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE, 96, 2808-2828 (2016).

DOI: 10.1080/14786435.2016.1217094

Low-mobility twin grain boundaries dominate the microstructure of grain boundary-engineered materials and are critical to understanding their plastic deformation behaviour. The presence of solutes, such as hydrogen, has a profound effect on the thermodynamic stability of the grain boundaries. This work examines the case of a Sigma 3 grain boundary at inclinations from 0 degrees <= Phi <= 90 degrees. The angle Phi corresponds to the rotation of the Sigma 3 (111) < 110 > (coherent) into the Sigma 3 (112) < 110 > (lateral) twin boundary. To this end, atomistic models of inclined grain boundaries, utilising empirical potentials, are used to elucidate the finite-temperature boundary structure while grand canonical Monte Carlo models are applied to determine the degree of hydrogen segregation. In order to understand the boundary structure and segregation behaviour of hydrogen, the structural unit description of inclined twin grain boundaries is found to provide insight into explaining the observed variation of excess enthalpy and excess hydrogen concentration on inclination angle, but the explanatory power is limited by how the enthalpy of segregation is affected by hydrogen concentration. At higher concentrations, the grain boundaries undergo a defaceting transition. In order to develop a more complete mesoscale model of the interfacial behaviour, an analytical model of boundary energy and hydrogen segregation that relies on modelling the boundary as arrays of discrete 1/3 < 111 > disconnections is constructed. Furthermore, the complex interaction of boundary reconstruction and concentration-dependent segregation behaviour exhibited by inclined twin grain boundaries limits the range of applicability of such an analytical model and illustrates the fundamental limitations for a structural unit model description of segregation in lower stacking fault energy materials.

Return to Publications page