Forming mechanism of equilibrium and non-equilibrium metallurgical phases in dissimilar aluminum/steel (Al-Fe) joints

Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 20;11(1):24251. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-03578-0.

ABSTRACT

Forming metallurgical phases has a critical impact on the performance of dissimilar materials joints. Here, we shed light on the forming mechanism of equilibrium and non-equilibrium intermetallic compounds (IMCs) in dissimilar aluminum/steel joints with respect to processing history (e.g., the pressure and temperature profiles) and chemical composition, where the knowledge of free energy and atomic diffusion in the Al-Fe system was taken from first-principles phonon calculations and data available in the literature. We found that the metastable and ductile (judged by the presently predicted elastic constants) Al6Fe is a pressure (P) favored IMC observed in processes involving high pressures. The MoSi2-type Al2Fe is brittle and a strong P-favored IMC observed at high pressures. The stable, brittle η-Al5Fe2 is the most observed IMC (followed by θ-Al13Fe4) in almost all processes, such as fusion/solid-state welding and additive manufacturing (AM), since η-Al5Fe2 is temperature-favored, possessing high thermodynamic driving force of formation and the fastest atomic diffusivity among all Al-Fe IMCs. Notably, the ductile AlFe3, the less ductile AlFe, and most of the other IMCs can be formed during AM, making AM a superior process to achieve desired IMCs in dissimilar materials. In addition, the unknown configurations of Al2Fe and Al5Fe2 were also examined by machine learning based datamining together with first-principles verifications and structure predictions. All the IMCs that are not P-favored can be identified using the conventional equilibrium phase diagram and the Scheil-Gulliver non-equilibrium simulations.

PMID:34930945 | PMC:PMC8688452 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-03578-0

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