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A DFT study of formation energies of Fe-Zn-Al intermetallics and solutes
We report Density Functional Theory results on FeAl and FeZn intermetallics and Fe, Zn and Al solute atoms. The formation energies of fully relaxed intermetallic geometries were determined, as well as solution energies of the three elements in host lattices of the other two elements. Since it is know that the outcome of the magnetic states of some FeAl intermetallics and Fe solutes in Al depends on subtle details of how the calculations are carried out, we have determined many of our results with two different parameterisations, PBE and PBEsol, so see how the parameterisation influences the results. The relaxed intermetallic geometries are in good agreement with experimental results, with PBEsol calculations resulting in slightly smaller geometries than PBE calculations (0.7e2.1%). Intermetallic formation energies fall within ranges of experimental results where available, and are in excellent or reasonable agreement with other DFT results, except for the FeAl2 phase. For this phase a structure revision was recently suggested and the heat of formation of the newly suggested structure is 0.1 eV/atom lower than for the long-accepted structure. The formation energies of Fe aluminides are an order of magnitude more negative than those of FeZn intermetallics. Most of the calculated magnetic states of the intermetallics are at odds with experimental results. However, the intermetallic formation energies are often not strongly affected by this. Fe/Al solute systems have the most negative solution energies. All other solution energies are positive and smaller in absolute value than the Fe/Al solution energies. Solution energies were all some tenths of eV. Where comparisons could be made, calculated and experimental results differed by some hundredths of eV. The magnetic moment found on an Fe solute in Al is at odds with experimental results. As with FeAl, the outcome of the magnetic state subtly depends on the details of how calculations were performed and has little energetic effect. Lattice relaxation around solute atoms is mostly in agreement with simple atomic size considerations. The slight relaxation of Al neighbours away from a Zn solute is at odds with this pattern, and also with experimental results.