Formation and crystallization behavior of Fe-based amorphous precursors with pre-existing α-Fe nanoparticles—Structure and magnetic properties of high-Cu-content Fe-Si-B-Cu-Nb nanocrystalline alloys

Yanhui Li, Xingjie Jia, Wei Zhang, Yan Zhang, Guoqiang Xie, Zhiyong Qiu, Junhua Luan, Zengbao Jiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Structure, crystallization behavior, and magnetic properties of as-quenched and annealed Fe81.3Si4B13Cu1.7 (Cu1.7) alloy ribbons and effects of Nb alloying have been studied. Three-dimensional atom probe and transmission electron microscopy analyses reveal that high-number-density Cu-clusters and Pre-existing Nano-sized α-Fe Particles (PN-α-Fe) are coexistence in the melt-spun Cu1.7 amorphous matrix, and the PN-α-Fe form by manners of one-direction adjoining and enveloping the Cu-clusters. Two-step crystallization behavior associated with growth of the PN-α-Fe and subsequent nucleation and growth of newly-formed α-Fe is found in the primary crystallization stage of the Cu1.7 alloy. The number densities of the Cu-clusters and PN-α-Fe in melt-spun Fe81.3−xSi4B13Cu1.7Nbx alloys are gradually reduced with enriching of Nb, and a fully amorphous structure forms at 4 at.% Nb, although smaller Cu-clusters still exist. After annealing, 2 at.% Nb coarsens the average size (Dα-Fe) of the α-Fe grains from 14.0 nm of the Nb-free alloy to 21.6 nm, and 4 at.% Nb refines the Dα-Fe to 8.9 nm. The mechanisms of the α-Fe nucleation and growth during quenching and annealing for the alloys with large quantities of PN-α-Fe as well as after Nb alloying have been discussed, and an annealing-induced α-Fe growth mechanism in term of the barrier co-contributed by competitive growth among the PN-α-Fe and diffusion-suppression effect of Nb atoms has been proposed. A coercivity (Hc) ∝ Dα-Fe3 correlation has been found for the nanocrystalline alloys, and the permeability is inverse with the Hc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2021


  • Crystallization behavior
  • Cu-cluster
  • Fe-based nanocrystalline alloy
  • Pre-existing α-Fe nanoparticle
  • Soft magnetic property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this