Precipitate transformation from NiAl-type to Ni2AlMn-type and its influence on the mechanical properties of high-strength steels

Zengbao Jiao, J. H. Luan, M. K. Miller, C. Y. Yu, Y. Liu, C. T. Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The precipitate transformation from NiAl-type to Ni2AlMn-type and its influence on the mechanical properties of the Fe–5Ni–1Al−xMn (x = 0, 1, 3, and 5 wt.%) alloys were studied thoroughly through a combination of three-dimensional atom probe tomography (APT), first-principles calculations and mechanical tests. APT reveals the precipitation of NiAl-type nanoparticles in the 0-3Mn alloys and the co-precipitation of fine NiAl-type and coarse Ni2AlMn-type nanoparticles in the 5Mn alloy, in which the Ni2AlMn-type nanoparticles are formed as a result of the coarsening of the NiAl-type ones. The first-principles calculations indicate that the Ni2AlMn-type nanoparticles are energetically more favorable than the NiAl-type ones, but their nucleation and growth kinetics are relatively slow, resulting in the initial precipitation of the NiAl-type nanoparticles and the later precipitate transformation from NiAl-type to Ni2AlMn-type. A quantitative analysis of the strengthening mechanism reveals that although the Ni2AlMn-type nanoparticles have a higher strengthening efficiency than the NiAl-type ones, they make a minor contribution to the total strengthening effects due mainly to their small number density. In addition, the Ni2AlMn-type nanoparticles with a composition consistent with that of the Heusler phase are likely to promote the brittle cleavage and intergranular fracture of the 5Mn alloy, resulting in a significant decrease of the alloy ductility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Atom probe tomography
  • Mechanical property
  • Phase transformation
  • Precipitation
  • Precipitation strengthening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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