Ab initio calculations of the lattice parameter and elastic stiffness coefficients of bcc Fe with solutes

Michael R. Fellinger, Louis G. Hector, Dallas R. Trinkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an efficient methodology for computing solute-induced changes in lattice parameters and elastic stiffness coefficients Cij of single crystals using density functional theory. We introduce a solute strain misfit tensor that quantifies how solutes change lattice parameters due to the stress they induce in the host crystal. Solutes modify the elastic stiffness coefficients through volumetric changes and by altering chemical bonds. We compute each of these contributions to the elastic stiffness coefficients separately, and verify that their sum agrees with changes in the elastic stiffness coefficients computed directly using fully optimized supercells containing solutes. Computing the two elastic stiffness contributions separately is more computationally efficient and provides more information on solute effects than the direct calculations. We compute the solute dependence of polycrystalline averaged shear and Young's moduli from the solute dependence of the single-crystal Cij. We apply this methodology to substitutional Al, B, Cu, Mn, Si solutes and octahedral interstitial C and N solutes in bcc Fe. Comparison with experimental data indicates that our approach accurately predicts solute-induced changes in the lattice parameter and elastic coefficients. The computed data can be used to quantify solute-induced changes in mechanical properties such as strength and ductility, and can be incorporated into mesoscale models to improve their predictive capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalComputational Materials Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Ab initio
  • Elastic constants
  • Ferrite
  • Iron
  • Lattice parameters
  • Solutes
  • Steel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computational Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ab initio calculations of the lattice parameter and elastic stiffness coefficients of bcc Fe with solutes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this