Development of a reactive force field for the Fe–C interaction to investigate the carburization of iron†
The approach of molecular dynamics with Reactive Force Field (ReaxFF) is a promising way to investigate the carburization of iron which is pivotal in the preparation of desired iron-based materials and catalysts. However, it is a challenge to develop a reliable ReaxFF to describe the Fe–C interaction, especially when it involves bond rearrangement. In this work, we develop an exclusive set of Reactive Force Field (ReaxFF) parameters, denoted RPOIC-2017, to describe the diffusion behavior of carbon atoms in the α-Fe system. It inherited some partial parameters in 2012 (ReaxFF-2012) which are suitable for hydrogen adsorption and dissociation. This set of parameters is trained against data from first-principles calculations, including the equations of state of α-Fe, the crystal constant of Fe3C and Fe4C, a variety of periodic surface structures with varying carbon coverages, as well as the barriers of carbon diffusion in the α-Fe bulk and on diverse surfaces. The success in predicting the carbon diffusion coefficient and the diffusion barrier using the developed RPOIC-2017 potential demonstrates that the performance is superior to that of the traditional MEAM potential. The new ReaxFF for the Fe–C interaction developed in this work is not only essential for the design of novel iron based materials, but could also help understand atomic arrangements and the interfacial structure of iron carbides.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2018 PCCP HOT Articles