Effect of grain boundary character on segregation-induced structural transitions

ZL Pan and TJ Rupert, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 93, 134113 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.93.134113

Segregation-induced structural transitions in metallic grain boundaries are studied with hybrid atomistic Monte Carlo/molecular dynamics simulations using Cu-Zr as a model system, with a specific emphasis on understanding the effect of grain boundary character. With increasing global composition, the six grain boundary types chosen for this paper first form ordered complexions, with the local segregation pattern depending on the grain boundary core structure, then transform into disordered complexions when the grain boundary composition reaches a critical value that is temperature dependent. The tendency for this transition to a disordered interfacial structure consistently depends on the relative solute excess, instead of the grain boundary energy or misorientation angle. Grain boundaries with high relative solute excess go through gradual disordering transitions, whereas those with low relative solute excess remain ordered until high global Zr concentrations but then abruptly transform into thick disordered films. The results presented here provide a clear picture of the effect of interface character on both dopant segregation patterns and disordered intergranular film formation, showing that all grain boundaries are not equal when discussing complexion transitions.

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