First-principles theory of 250 000-atom coherent alloy microstructure

C. Wolverton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Microstructural issues in alloys such as precipitation have largely been outside the realm of first-principles electronic structure calculations due to the length scales involved in precipitation microstructure (typically nanometres to micrometres) and the inherent thermodynamic/statistical nature of the problem. Here, we show that modern, first-principles total energy calculations can be combined with a mixed-space cluster expansion approach (a generalized real/reciprocal space Ising model) and Monte Carlo simulations to yield a method capable of describing equilibrium coherent precipitate shapes in alloys with system sizes up to 250 000 atoms. Both the (anisotropic) interfacial free energies and the coherency strain between precipitate and matrix are accounted for in this method as well as the short-range atomic-scale ordering of the solid solution. Illustrations of the technique are given for several famous examples of coherent precipitation in aluminium alloys: Al-Mg, Al-Cu and Al-Ni.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalModelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000
EventThe Workshop on Thermodynamic and Structural Properties of Alloy Materials - Oranjestad, Aruba
Duration: Jun 20 1999Jun 24 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Science Applications


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