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Ion-beam-induced formation of a stable phase at the expense of an otherwise dominant metastable phase

  • E. H. Lee (a1) and L. K. Mansur (a1)


Thermal aging and irradiation experiments were carried out in Fe–Ni–Cr base alloys containing Ti or Nb as well as low levels of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. After aging, fine dispersions of TiC and NbC were formed. However, after irradiation the Ti-containing alloy precipitated Ti(N,O) rather than TiC, while the Nb-containing alloy precipitated NbC. Analysis of the energetics of these reactions reveals that the Ti(N,O) phase is thermodynamically more stable than the TiC phase, while the NbC phase is more stable than the NbO phase. These results are therefore consistent with observed behavior. While it is well known that irradiation can drive a system away from equilibrium, the present results show that irradiation also can catalyze the formation of a more stable phase at the expense of a persistent metastable phase.



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