▪ Abstract 

We review here the theory of the early stages of oxidation of the (110) surface of Ni Al, based on ab initio calculations using a plane-wave pseudopotential method. The clean surface and several oxidized surfaces have been investigated, with oxygen coverages up to 2ML of oxygen (1ML = 3 O atoms per 2 surface Al atoms). The theory to date is a description in terms of equilibrium thermodynamics, with a comparison of the free energies of several surfaces of different composition, implemented at the atomic scale. Three environmental parameters are singled out as control variables in this treatment, namely the alloy composition (assumed to be near 0.5), the temperature and the partial pressure of oxygen . With certain reasonable approximations an analytic formula for the surface energy σ is derived in terms of these variables and some constants that are calculated ab initio together with others that are derived from experimental thermodynamic tables. At oxygen pressures just above the threshold for bulk oxidation of NiAl, the calculations explain the observed formation of a thin film of alumina in place of NiAl surface layers, with the consequent dissolution of Ni into the bulk. Ab initio calculations illustrate how the energetics of supplying Al to the surface depends on bulk stoichiometry, which alters the relative stability of different surface oxidation states so as to favour oxidation more if the alloy is Al-rich than if it is Ni-rich.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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