Synthesis and phase transformation mechanism of Nb2C carbide phases

B. Vishwanadh*, T. S.R.Ch Murthy, A. Arya, R. Tewari, G. K. Dey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In the present work, Niobium carbide samples were prepared through powder metallurgy route using spark plasma sintering technique. Some of these samples were heat treated at 900 °C up to 7 days. In order to investigate the phase transformation in Nb2C carbide, the as-prepared and heat treated samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy techniques. EBSD could index the same area of the sample in terms of any of the three allotropes of Nb2C carbide phases (γ-Nb2C, β-Nb2C and α-Nb2C) with good confidence index. From the EBSD patterns orientation relationships (OR) among γ, β and α-Nb2C have been determined. Based on this OR when crystals of the three allotropes were superimposed, it has revealed that the basic Nb metal atom lattice (hcp lattice) in all the Nb2C phases is same. The only difference exists in the carbides is the ordering of carbon atoms and vacancies in the octahedral positions of the hcp Nb metal atom lattice. Crystallographic analysis showed that for the transformation of γ-Nb2C → β-Nb2C → α-Nb2C, large movement of Nb atoms is not required; but only by ordering of carbon atoms ensues the phase transformation. Literature shows that in the Nb-C system formation of the α-Nb2C is not well established. Therefore, first principle calculations were carried out on these carbides. It revealed that the formation energy for α-Nb2C is lower than the β and γ-Nb2C carbides which indicate that the formation of α-Nb2C is thermodynamically feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-434
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Early online date11 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2016


  • Material characterization
  • NbC
  • Phase transformation
  • SPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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