New insights into the structural evolution of TiO2–Ti3O5–Ti2O3–TiO–TixOyCz–TiC systems at the nanoscale during the reduction process†
Titanium-based materials have been considered to be promising materials for many years. The structures and properties of TixOy and TiC at the nanoscale are important for studying the mechanism of formation of their nanoparticles. In this work, the density functional theory (DFT) method was used to calculate the structures of (TixOy)n (n = 1–5) and (TiC)n (n = 1–10) clusters. Based on these calculations, the formation pathways from (TiO2)n clusters to (TiO)n and (TiC)n clusters via carbon reduction were investigated. The results show that the pathway via (Ti2O3)n or (Ti3O5)n is the most likely pathway for the transformation of the (TiO2)n cluster to the (TiO)n cluster. The (TiO)n cluster is not the final product in the reduction process of (TiO2)n with C, and it can be finally transformed into (TiC)n clusters via various TinOxCy clusters via reaction with C. In addition, the (TiO2)n clusters can be transformed into (TiC)n clusters directly via various TixOyCz clusters.