Integrated design of Nb-based superalloys: Ab initio calculations, computational thermodynamics and kinetics, and experimental results

Gautam Ghosh*, Gregory B Olson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


An optimal integration of modern computational tools and efficient experimentation is presented for the accelerated design of Nb-based superalloys. Integrated within a systems engineering framework, we have used ab initio methods along with alloy theory tools to predict phase stability of solid solutions and intermetallics to accelerate assessment of thermodynamic and kinetic databases enabling comprehensive predictive design of multicomponent multiphase microstructures as dynamic systems. Such an approach is also applicable for the accelerated design and development of other high performance materials. Based on established principles underlying Ni-based superalloys, the central microstructural concept is a precipitation strengthened system in which coherent cubic aluminide phase(s) provide both creep strengthening and a source of Al for Al2O3 passivation enabled by a Nb-based alloy matrix with required ductile-to-brittle transition temperature, atomic transport kinetics and oxygen solubility behaviors. Ultrasoft and PAW pseudopotentials, as implemented in VASP, are used to calculate total energy, density of states and bonding charge densities of aluminides with B2 and L21 structures relevant to this research. Characterization of prototype alloys by transmission and analytical electron microscopy demonstrates the precipitation of B2 or L21 aluminide in a (Nb) matrix. Employing Thermo-Calc and DICTRA software systems, thermodynamic and kinetic databases are developed for substitutional alloying elements and interstitial oxygen to enhance the diffusivity ratio of Al to O for promotion of Al2O3 passivation. However, the oxidation study of a Nb-Hf-Al alloy, with enhanced solubility of Al in (Nb) than in binary Nb-Al alloys, at 1300 °C shows the presence of a mixed oxide layer of NbAlO4 and HfO2 exhibiting parabolic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3281-3303
Number of pages23
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Ab initio electron theory
  • Analytical electron microscopy
  • Calphad
  • Elastic properties
  • Kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Integrated design of Nb-based superalloys: Ab initio calculations, computational thermodynamics and kinetics, and experimental results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this