This thesis presents theoretical research on MAX phases (M=transition metal, A=A-group element, X=carbon and/or nitrogen), with focus on predictions of phase stability as well as of physical properties.
The first part is an investigation of the phase stability of the MAX phases Ti2AlC, Ti3AlC2, and Ti4AlC3 at elevated temperatures, where the former two phases have been obtained experimentally. Phase stability calculations of MAX phases usually do not take temperature dependent effects such as electronic excitations and lattice vibrations into consideration due to significantly increased computational cost. The results have nevertheless so far been quite accurate, with good agreement between theory and experiments. Still, the question whether the inclusion of temperature into the calculations could significantly alter the results as compared to previous 0 K calculations needs to be investigated, since this has bearing on the reliability of future predictions of the stability of not yet known MAX phases. However, it is shown that for Tin+1AlCn, the different temperature dependent effects largely cancel each other. The results therefore suggest that to go beyond 0 K calculations for phase stability predictions of MAX phases is motivated only for borderline cases.
The second part investigates the Mn2GaC MAX phase, which was recently predicted from theoretical phase stability calculations and subsequently synthesized. As a new member of the MAX phase family as well as being one of the first known MAX phases to exhibit magnetism, it is of interest to explore its physical properties. Here, we have used firstprinciples calculations to determine the electronic, vibrational and elastic properties. Analysis of the electronic band structure indicates anisotropy in transport properties, while the electronic and phonon density of states shows that the relative orientation of the Mn magnetic moments over the Ga layers affects the distribution of the electronic and vibrational states for both Mn and Ga.
The Voigt bulk, Voigt shear, and Young's modulus is also investigated, together with the Poisson's ratio, the elastic anisotropy, and the machinability via two machinability indices. In relation to experimental results of the moduli of other M2AC phases, the Voigt bulk and shear moduli are concluded to be fairly low, 157 and 93 GPa, respectively, while the magnitude of the Young's modulus at 233 GPa is intermediate. The Poisson's ratio, which is 0.25, on the other hand, is comparatively high. The phase is shown to be elastically quite isotropic, and, just as other M2GaC phases, also machinable. As all here investigated properties are affected by the choice of magnetic spin configuration, the results show the importance of identifying the correct magnetic ground state in future theoretical work on magnetic MAX phases.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 30 p.
Rosén, Johanna, Dr.Alling, Björn, Dr.