Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Luo, Jian

Committee Member

Skaar , Eric C

Committee Member

Luzinov , Igor

Committee Member

Kornev , Konstantin


Quasi-liquid intergranular film (IGF) which has been widely observed in ceramic systems can persist into sub-solidus region whereby an analogy to Grain boundary (GB) premelting can be made.
In this work, a grain boundary (GB) premelting/prewetting model in a metallic system was firstly built based on the Benedictus' model and computational thermodynamics, predicting that GB disordering can start at 60-85% of the bulk solidus temperatures in selected systems. This model quantitatively explains the long-standing mystery of subsolidus activated sintering in W-Pd, W-Ni, W-Co, W-Fe and W-Cu, and it has broad applications for understanding GB-controlled transport kinetics and physical properties. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the necessity of developing GB phase diagrams as a tool for materials design.
Subsequently, Grain boundary (GB) wetting and prewetting in Ni-doped Mo are systematically evaluated via characterizing well-quenched specimens and thermodynamic modeling. In contrast to prior reports, the δ-NiMo phase does not wet Mo GBs in the solid state. In the solid-liquid two-phase region, the Ni-rich liquid wets Mo GBs completely. Furthermore, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy demonstrates that nanometer-thick quasi-liquid IGFs persist at GBs into the single-phase region where the bulk liquid phase is no longer stable; this is interpreted as a case of GB prewetting. An analytical thermodynamic model is developed and validated, and this model can be extended to other systems.
Furthermore, the analytical model was refined based upon Beneditus' model with correction in determining interaction contribution of interfacial energy. A calculation-based GB phase diagram for Ni-Mo binary system was created and validated by comparing with GB diffusivities determined through a series of controlled sintering experiments. The dependence of GB diffusivity on doping level and temperature was examined and compared with model-predicted GB phase diagram. The consistency between GB phase diagram and GB diffusivity was evidently observed.
This study revealed the existence of quasi-liquid IGF in Ni-Mo and re-confirmed our prior hypothesis proposed through work in Ni-W system. It also demonstrated further the necessity of a GB phase diagram as a new tool to guide the materials processing or design, such as selection of sintering aid and heat-treatment.



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