Article ID: ISIJINT-2023-044
Fe-Cr-Co alloys are becoming important as a half-hard magnet for their novel applications, including non-contact electromagnetic brakes, because of the controllability of its magnetic hardness depending on the modulated structure formed by spinodal decomposition. However, the experimental optimization of the complicated heat-treatment process to control the microstructure significantly increases the development cost, and microstructure prediction by computational simulation is desired. In this study, we first developed the method of phase-field simulation for spinodal decomposition in Fe-Cr-Co alloy during various heat treatments, including isothermal heat treatment, multistep continuous fast and slow cooling, which allows us to conduct a simulation of spinodal decomposition under conditions close to the condition of practical heat treatment. The simulation results revealed that the morphology of the modulated structure is predominantly determined by the cooling rate and does not change significantly during the subsequent isothermal annealing process, while the difference between the concentrations of the FeCo-rich magnetic phase and the Cr-rich non-magnetic phase increases. Continuous cooling at rates higher than 140 K/h demonstrates the maximum number densities of the ferromagnetic particles of α1-phase seemingly almost reaching saturation, which is expected to give rise to exhibiting the largest coercive force of the Fe-Cr-Co magnet. Moreover, this method can be extended to other materials for designing a modulated structure to show a desired property.