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The term interstitial compound, or interstitial alloy, is used to describe a compound that is formed when an atom of sufficiently small radius sits in an interstitial “hole” in a metal lattice. Examples of small atoms are hydrogen, boron, carbon and nitrogen. These compounds are important industrially, for example some transition metal carbides and nitrides.
Additional recommended knowledge
The idea of interstitial compounds was mooted in the late 1920's and they are often called Haag phases after G.Hägg . Transition metals generally crystallise in either the hexagonal close packed or body centered cubic structures, both of which can be considered to be made up of layers of hexagonally close packed atoms. In both of these very similar lattices there are two sorts of interstice, or hole:
It was suggested by early workers that:
These were not viewed as compounds, but rather as solutions, of say carbon, in the metal lattice, with a limiting upper “concentration” of the smaller atom that was determined by the number of interstices available.
A more detailed knowledge of the structures of metals, and binary and ternary phases of metals and non metals shows that:
An example is the solubility of carbon in iron. The form of pure iron stable between 910°C and 1390°C, γ-iron, forms a solid solution with carbon termed austenite.
Categories: Materials science | Alloys
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Interstitial_compound". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|