The early stages of the isothermal decomposition of an Fe-20 at.% Mo alloy at 500°C have been studied by means of atom-probe (AP) and field-ion microscopy (FIM), as well as high-resolution (HREM) and conventional (CTEM) transmission electron microscopy. CTEM reveals a characteristics modulated structure oriented along the (100)-type directions of the b.c.c. matrix. Electron diffraction patterns show satellite-like intensities close to the fundamental reflections in 〈100〉-type directions, indicating an approximate 6 nm characteristic length scale of the decomposition microstructure. FIM and HREM reveal precipitates about 2 nm in size with a b.c.c. structure formed coherently within the matrix. AP analyses show these precipitates to consist of almost pure Mo. The size misfit between the Mo-rich precipitates and the Fe-rich matrix causes large coherency strains, resulting in precipitate alignment along 〈100〉-type directions. The Mo-rich b.c.c. solid solution precipitates in a metastable equilibrium with the Fe-rich b.c.c. matrix, whereas the formation of the equilibrium intermetallic phases is kinetically suppressed. A coherent metastable miscibility gap between the Fe-rich and the Mo-rich b.c.c. solid solution is assessed by incorporating a continuum elasticity strain-energy term into the Gibbs free energy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys