A model for the compositions of non-stoichiometric intermediate phases formed by diffusion reactions, and its application to Nb3Sn superconductors

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2016

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Nature Publishing Group

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In this work we explore the compositions of non-stoichiometric intermediate phases formed by diffusion reactions: a mathematical framework is developed and tested against the specific case of Nb3Sn superconductors. In the first part, the governing equations for the bulk diffusion and interphase interface reactions during the growth of a compound are derived, numerical solutions to which give both the composition profile and growth rate of the compound layer. The analytic solutions are obtained with certain approximations made. In the second part, we explain an effect that the composition characteristics of compounds can be quite different depending on whether it is the bulk diffusion or grain boundary diffusion that dominates in the compounds, and that “frozen” bulk diffusion leads to unique composition characteristics that the bulk composition of a compound layer remains unchanged after its initial formation instead of varying with the diffusion reaction system; here the model is modified for the case of grain boundary diffusion. Finally, we apply this model to the Nb3Sn superconductors and propose approaches to control their compositions.

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Xu, X. and Sumption, M. D. A model for the compositions of non-stoichiometric intermediate phases formed by diffusion reactions, and its application to Nb3Sn superconductors. Sci. Rep. 6, 19096; https://doi.org/10.1038/srep19096 (2016).