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Atomic‐scale microstructure of Hf2Al4C5 ceramic synthesized by spark plasma sintering

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A layered ternary carbide phase, Hf2Al4C5, was successfully synthesized by spark plasma sintering method. Detailed (atomic‐scale) microstructure of the ternary carbide was investigated by aberration‐corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and atomic‐resolution energy dispersive X‐ray spectroscopy. Hf2Al4C5 crystal grains have elongated morphologies and are characterized with a high density of stacking faults with the insertion of additional (Al4C3) or (HfC) units. Periodic stacking of Hf2Al4C5 and HfAl4C4 units along the [0001] direction is frequently observed in the Hf2Al4C5 crystal, and it leads to the formation of Hf4Al12C13, which consists of 2/3 Hf2Al4C5 unit cell and 1/2 HfAl4C4 unit cell. In addition, Z‐shaped planar defects are observed in Hf2Al4C5 grains, and the formation mechanism of the Z‐shaped defects was proposed as blocking effects of the Hf diffusion in Al4C3 by pre‐existing {1‐101} pyramidal stacking faults in Al4C3.
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Keywords: microstructure; spark plasma sintering; stacking fault; transition metal ternary compounds; transmission electron microscopy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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