Crystal grain growth at the α-uranium phase transformation in praseodymium

Academic Article


  • Structural phase transformations under pressure are examined in praseodymium metal for the range 0-40 GPa at ambient temperature. Pressure was generated with a diamond-anvil cell, and data were collected using high-resolution synchrotron x-ray diffraction and the image plate technique. The structural sequence double hexagonal close packed (dhcp)→face centered cubic (fcc)→distorted-fcc (d-fcc)→α-uranium (α-U) is observed with increasing pressure. Rietveld refinement of all crystallographic phases provided confirmation of the hR24 structure for the d-fcc phase while the previously reported monoclinic phase between the d-fcc and the α-U phase was not confirmed. We observe dramatic crystal grain growth during the volume collapse concurrent with the symmetry-lowering transition to the α-U structure. No preferred orientation axis is observed, and the formation process for these large grains is expected to be via a nucleation and growth mechanism. An analogous effect in rare earth metal cerium suggests that the grain growth during transformation to the α-U structure is a common occurrence in f-electron metals at high pressures. ©2005 The American Physical Society.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cunningham NC; Velisavljevic N; Vohra YK
  • Volume

  • 71
  • Issue

  • 1