Institute of Quantum Materials Science, IQMS

Structure and composition of cementite

V. I. Voronin, I. F. Berger, Yu. N. Gornostyrev, V.N. Urtsev, A.R. Kuznetsov, A.V. Shmakov

The structure state of carbon eutectoid steel has been studied by the in situ neutron diffraction method in the temperature range from room temperature to 800°C. It has been shown that an increase in the temperature is accompanied by a decrease in the concentration of carbon in cementite, whereas its weight fraction and the parameters of the orthorhombic lattice change slightly. The ab initio calculations of the nonstoichiometric carbides Fe3Cx (0 < х < 1) indicate that the structure of cementite remains stable upon the appearance of vacancies in the carbon sublattice with a relatively low formation energy. Thus, cementite should be considered as an interstitial phase Fe3Cx with a wide homogeneity range.

Fig. 1. Temperature dependence of carbon concentration in cementite with composition Fe3Cx