Effects of Small Additions of Copper and Copper + Nickel on the Oxidation Behavior of Iron

  • Bryan WeblerEmail author
  • Lan Yin
  • Seetharaman Sridhar


This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of small amounts of copper and copper + nickel additions on the oxidation rate and oxide/metal interface microstructure of iron. Three iron-based alloys were compared: 0.3 wt pct copper, 0.3 wt pct copper-0.1 wt pct nickel, and 0.3 wt pct copper-0.05 wt pct nickel. Alloy samples were oxidized in air at 1150 °C for 60, 300, and 600 seconds. Pure iron oxidized for 300 seconds was used as a reference material. The parabolic oxidation rate for the iron-copper alloy did not differ from that of pure iron, but the parabolic rate for the nickel-containing alloys decreased by a factor of 2. The microstructure of the iron-copper alloy consisted of a thin, copper-rich layer at the oxide/metal interface. Both nickel-containing alloys had perturbed oxide/metal interfaces consisting of alternating solid/liquid regions. The application of ternary alloy interface stability theories show that the perturbed interfaces arise from unequal diffusivities in the solid γ-iron phase. It is suggested that this perturbed interface microstructure causes the observed decrease in oxidation rate, by limiting the iron supply to the oxide.


Oxidation Rate Interdiffusion Coefficient Interface Microstructure Parabolic Rate Constant Interface Composition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Center for Iron and Steelmaking Research, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Material Science and EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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