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Title: Electrophobic interaction induced impurity clustering in metals

We introduce the concept of electrophobic interaction, analogous to hydrophobic interaction, for describing the behavior of impurity atoms in a metal, a 'solvent of electrons'. We demonstrate that there exists a form of electrophobic interaction between impurities with closed electron shell structure, which governs their dissolution behavior in a metal. Using He, Be and Ar as examples, we predict by first-principles calculations that the electrophobic interaction drives He, Be or Ar to form a close-packed cluster with a clustering energy that follows a universal power-law scaling with the number of atoms (N) dissolved in a free electron gas, as well as W or Al lattice, as Ec is proportional to (N2/3-N). This new concept unifies the explanation for a series of experimental observations of close-packed inert-gas bubble formation in metals, and significantly advances our fundamental understanding and capacity to predict the solute behavior of impurities in metals, a useful contribution to be considered in future material design of metals for nuclear, metallurgical, and energy applications.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1359-6454
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Acta Materialia; Journal Volume: 119
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE electrophobic interaction; impurity clustering; metals