Ab initio atomistic simulation of metals and multicomponent alloys

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Ab initio theory provides a powerful tool to understand and predict the behavior of materials. This thesis contains both of these aspects. First we use ab initio alloy theory to investigate a new kind of complex alloy (high-entropy alloy). Second we introduce a novel potential (interlayer potential), which can be extracted from ab inito total energy calculations using the Chen-Möbius inversion method.High-entropy alloys (HEAs) are composed of four or more metallic elements with nearly equimolar composition. In spite of the large number of components, most of the HEAs have a simple solid-solution phase rather than forming complex intermetallic structures. Extensive experiments have reported the unique microstructures and special properties of HEAs. Single-phase HEAs may be divided into three types, i.e. the3d-HEAs adopting the face centered cubic (fcc) phase, the refractory-HEAs with a body centered cubic (bcc) phase, and the HEAs with the duplex fcc-bcc structure. We employ the exact muffin-tin orbitals (EMTO) method in combination with the coherent potential approximation (CPA) to investigate the electronic structure, the equilibrium volume and the elastic properties of these three-type HEAs.First we compare the CPA with the super cell technique (SC) to assess the performance of the EMTO-CPA method. As typical fcc 3d-HEAs, we consider the CuNiCoFeCrTix systems in the paramagnetic state. Starting from the calculated electronic structure, we give an explanation for the observed magnetic states. Furthermore, we provide a theoretical prediction for the elastic parameters and polycrystalline elastic moduli for CuNiCoFeCrTix (x= 0.0?0.5, 1.0) and NiCoTeCrTi. A detailed comparison between the theoretical results and the available experimental data demonstrates that ab initio theory can properly describe the fundamental properties of this important class of engineering alloys.Refractory-HEAs are composed of Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Nb, Ta, Mo, and W. These HEAs have a simple bcc structure. Taking the TiZrNbMoVx and TiZrVNb HEAs as examples, we provide a detailed investigation of the effect of alloying elements on the elastic parameters and the elastic isotropy. Our results indicate that vanadium enhances the anisotropy and ductility of TiZrNbMoVx. As an application of the present theoretical database, we verify the often quoted correlation between the valence charge concentration (VEC) and the micro-mechanical properties in the case of multi-component alloys. Furthermore, we predict that the present HEAs become elastically isotropic for VEC ? 4.72.With increase of the aluminum content, phase transformations (fcc?(fcc+bcc)?bcc) occur in NiCoFeCrAlx HEAs. Our ab initio results predict that at room temperature the paramagnetic NiCoFeCrAlx HEAs adopt the fcc structure for x ? 0.60 and the bcc structure for x ? 1.23, with an fcc-bcc duplex region in between the two pure phases. The calculated single- and polycrystal elastic parameters exhibit strong composition and crystal structure dependence. Based on the present theoretical findings, it is concluded that alloys around the equimolar NiCoFeCrAl composition have superior mechanical performance as compared to the single-phase regions.Many modern materials and material systems are layered. The properties related to layers are connected to interactions between atomic layers. We introduce the interlayer potential (ILP), a novel model potential which fully describes the interaction between layers. The ILPs are different from the usual interatomic potentials which present inter- action between atoms. We use the Chen-Möbius inversion method to extract the ILPs from ab initio total energy calculations. The so obtained ILPs can be employed to investigate several physical parameters connected with the particular set of atomic layers, e.g. surface energy, stacking fault energy, elastic parameters, etc.As an application, we adopt the supercell method and the axial interaction model in connection with the ILPs to calculate the stacking fault energy along the fcc ?111? direction, including the intrinsic stacking fault energy, extrinsic stacking fault energy and twin stacking fault energy as well as the interactions between the intrinsic stacking faults. We find that the data derived from ILPs are consistent with those obtained in direct ab initio calculations. Along the fcc ?111? direction, we study the surface energy and surface relaxation using the ILPs. The phonon dispersions are also described.Our conclusions are as followsthe EMTO-CPAab initioalloy theory can be used to understand and predict the fundamental properties of multicomponent alloys.the interlayer potentials based on the Chen-Möbius inversion method may provide a new way to investigate the properties related to layers in layered materials,the EMTO-CPA alloy theory combined with the Chen-Möbius inversion method offers a powerful technique to study the properties of complex alloys.