, Volume 21, Issue 1-2, pp 89-102

In situ observation of whiskers, pyramids and pits during the high-temperature oxidation of metals

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A hot-stage, environmental scanning electron microscope has been used to observe the in situ development of oxide whiskers, pyramids, and pits in the oxidation of copper and nickel at elevated temperatures. The effects of oxidation temperature, metal deformation, and the presence of water vapor on these irregular oxidation features were studied. In each case, the feature results from the presence of a central screw dislocation which provides ledges for the extension of the oxide lattice, but the specific geometries are decided by factors such as surface diffusion along the dislocation core, the rate of the molecular dissociation step, and the balance of surface energy and dislocation line tension forces.