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Site occupation of Nb atoms in ternary Ni-Ti-Nb shape memory alloys
Nb occupancy in the austenite B2-NiTi matrix and Ti2Ni phase in Ni–Ti–Nb shape memory alloys was investigated by aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and precession electron diffraction. In both cases, Nb atoms were found to prefer to occupy the Ti rather than Ni sites. A projector augmented wave method within density functional theory was used to calculate the atomic and electronic structures of the austenitic B2-NiTi matrix phase and the Ti2Ni precipitates both with and without addition of Nb. The obtained formation energies and analysis of structural and electronic characteristics explain the preference for Ti sites for Nb over Ni sites.