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An Ab Initio Study of Vacancies in Disordered Magnetic Systems: A Case Study of Fe-Rich Fe-Al Phases

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Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Materials
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Web Full Text
Keywords Fe3Al; Fe-Al; vacancies; magnetism; ab initio; disorder; superalloys
Description We have performed quantum-mechanical calculations to examine the impact of disorder on thermodynamic, structural and electronic (magnetic) properties of Fe-Al systems with vacancies. A series of supercells was used and their properties were computed employing density-functional theory (DFT) as implemented in the VASP package. Our case study is primarily aimed at a disordered solid solution Fe81.25Al18.75 but we have compared our results also with those obtained for the ordered Fe3Al intermetallic compound for which experimental data exist in literature. Both phases are found in Fe-Al-based superalloys. The Fe-18.75at.%Al solid solution was simulated using special quasirandom structures (SQS) in three different disordered states with a different distribution of Al atoms. In particular, we have considered a general disordered case (an A2-like variant), the case without the first nearest neighbor Al-Al pairs (a B2-like distribution of atoms) and also the case without both the first and second nearest neighbor Al-Al pairs (the D03-like variant, in fact, an Fe-rich Fe3Al phase). The vacancy formation energies as well as the volumes of (fully relaxed) supercells with vacancies showed a large scatter for the disordered systems. The vacancy formation energies decrease with increasing concentration of Al atoms in the first coordination shell around the vacancy (an anti-correlation) for all disordered cases studied. The computed volumes of vacancies were found significantly lower (by 25-60%) when compared with the equilibrium volume of the missing atoms in their elemental states. Lastly, we have analyzed interactions between the vacancies and the Fe atoms and evaluated vacancy-induced changes in local magnetic moments of Fe atoms.
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