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Ab initio study of the anomalous volume-composition dependence in Fe-Al alloys
The experimentally observed anomalous compositional dependence of the lattice constant of Fe-Al crystals has been theoretically investigated employing density functional theory (DFT) within the generalized gradient approximation (GGA). The formation energies, equilibrium volumes and magnetic states have been determined for a dense set of different aluminium concentrations and a large variety of atomic configurations. The spin-polarized calculations for Fe-rich compounds reproduce very well the anomalous lattice-constant behavior in contrast to both the nonmagnetic and fixed-spin-moment calculations that result in nearly linear trends without any anomaly. We thus identify the change in magnetism of iron atoms as caused by an increasing number of Al atoms in the first coordination spheres to be the decisive driving force of the anomalous behavior. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.