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Challenges in computationally designing high temperature Fe-based austenitic alloys: Addressing the role of Ni additions

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Alumina-forming austenitic (AFA) alloys are relatively inexpensive high performance materials which combine the creep resistance of low-cost austenitic alloys and the oxidation resistance of expensive alumina forming alloys. However, a fundamental understanding of the role of key alloying elements such as Ni, Cr, Al, Nb, Ti, V, B and C in the experimentally observed oxidation behavior of these alloys is still lacking. The present work is a first in a series of studies aiming to quantitatively describe the role of Ni in promoting or disrupting protective Al2O3 scale formation on AFA alloys. Ternary Fe-Al-xNi model alloys with three different Ni contents were isothermally exposed in an atmosphere with a low partial pressure of oxygen between 800–1000 °C for 24 h to evaluate the role of Ni in the observed internal oxidation behavior. Increasing Ni contents had no impact on the internal oxidation behavior of the alloys. The experimental and theoretical analyses in the present work suggested a negligible effect of the internal oxide precipitates on the inward diffusion of oxygen, typically expected in these systems, while simultaneously highlighting the barriers in the development of reliable models for computation-assisted design of these alloys.