The original Cahn-Hilliard derivation of the contribution of compositional inhomogeneity to the free energy of a binary alloy with pairwise interactions is extended to include higher-order inhomogeneity terms. For alloys on a cubic lattice, the coefficient of the first inhomogeneity is a second-rank tensor and reduces to a scalar, but it is shown that the second order and the third order inhomogeneity terms are weighted by fourth-rank and sixth-rank tensors, thus resulting in anisotropic contributions. Furthermore, each interaction shell generates a unique set of inhomogeneity coefficients that is determined by the set of vectors connecting an atom to its neighbors on that shell. These coefficients are calculated for fcc and bcc alloys with interactions up fourth nearest neighbors. Phase field simulations based on these extended Cahn-Hilliard free energies are performed to measure interface free energies along specific crystallographic directions as a function of temperature, and to obtain the equilibrium shape of precipitates. Interface free energies, and the resulting anisotropies, are compared to those obtained by discrete models and Monte Carlo simulations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys