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By Arthur C Reardon

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32) is an example of a binary alloy system with unlimited solid solubility. Thus, substitutional solid solutions can have a wide range of solubility limits at room temperature. In contrast, the four interstitial atoms (boron, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen) tend to have very limited solubility. For example, carbon has a very low solid solubility limit in iron with a body-centered cubic (bcc) phase structure— called ferrite or alpha (α) iron. 0206 wt% C at 738 °C (Fig. 33). However, it is important to note that iron is allotropic—that is, iron atoms arrange themselves into a face-centered cubic (fcc) crystal structure at higher temperatures.

On the other hand, the copper-nickel system (Fig. 32) is an example of a binary alloy system with unlimited solid solubility. Thus, substitutional solid solutions can have a wide range of solubility limits at room temperature. In contrast, the four interstitial atoms (boron, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen) tend to have very limited solubility. For example, carbon has a very low solid solubility limit in iron with a body-centered cubic (bcc) phase structure— called ferrite or alpha (α) iron. 0206 wt% C at 738 °C (Fig.

The vacancy process is one common example of diffusion. Open (vacant) sites in a lattice are a common type of crystal defect, and atoms can move to unoccupied lattice sites. This can happen if an atom that is oscillating (“sitting”) on a regular lattice site has enough thermal energy to jump the gap to a vacant site nearby. This vacancy diffusion process is a fundamental mechanism of atomic motion and is the most common mechanism for atomic diffusion in solids. The presence of vacancies is a condition of equilibrium, and the number of vacancies increases exponentially with temperature, as: Nv = Ne-Q/kT where Nv is the number of vacancies, N is the total number of lattice sites, Q is the activation energy required to form a vacancy, k is Boltz­ mann’s constant, and T is the absolute tem­ perature (in degrees Kelvin).

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