A study on coherency strain and precipitate morphology via a discrete atom method

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Morphological evolution of coherent precipitates is studied by means of a discrete atom method under a plane strain condition with a purely dilatational misfit. The method is predicated upon Hookean atomic interactions and Monte Carlo diffusion and makes no assumption of a specific precipitate shape. Precipitates having elastic constants different from those of the matrix phase are treated in both isotropic and anisotropic elastic systems. Shape evolution is examined under the condition of a constant precipitate size and an isotropic interfacial energy. The results show that in general, an elastically soft precipitate tends to have an equilibrium morphology of low symmetry such as a plate, whereas a hard particle tends to take up a shape of high symmetry such as a circle. Morphological evolution proceeds through dynamic activities of coherency-induced interfacial waves whose wavelength depends upon the difference in-elastic constants, precipitate geometry, anisotropy, and diffusion temperature. Coherency-induced interfacial waves seem to be responsible for the protrusions often observed along elastically hard directions in y particles of Ni-base superalloys and also to be a source for fresh ledges for growth via the ledge mechanism. For a highly nonequilibrium precipitate, first splitting followed by coalescence appears to be a common feature in achieving its equilibrium morphology.

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Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science