Effects of Small Additions of Copper and Copper + Nickel on the Oxidation Behavior of Iron

Bryan Webler, Lan Yin, Seetharaman Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of small amounts of copper and copper + nickel additions on the oxidation rate and oxide/metal interface microstructure of iron. Three iron-based alloys were compared: 0.3 wt pct copper, 0.3 wt pct copper-0.1 wt pct nickel, and 0.3 wt pct copper-0.05 wt pct nickel. Alloy samples were oxidized in air at 1150 °C for 60, 300, and 600 seconds. Pure iron oxidized for 300 seconds was used as a reference material. The parabolic oxidation rate for the iron-copper alloy did not differ from that of pure iron, but the parabolic rate for the nickel-containing alloys decreased by a factor of 2. The microstructure of the iron-copper alloy consisted of a thin, copper-rich layer at the oxide/metal interface. Both nickel-containing alloys had perturbed oxide/metal interfaces consisting of alternating solid/liquid regions. The application of ternary alloy interface stability theories show that the perturbed interfaces arise from unequal diffusivities in the solid γ-iron phase. It is suggested that this perturbed interface microstructure causes the observed decrease in oxidation rate, by limiting the iron supply to the oxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-737
Number of pages13
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions B: Process Metallurgy and Materials Processing Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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