SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 62 , Issue 8 : 1297-1321(2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-019-9527-0

Chemo-mechanical coupling effect on high temperature oxidation: A review

XuFei FANG 1,2,†, Yan LI 1,2, MengKun YUE 1,2, Xue FENG 1,2,*
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  • ReceivedMar 4, 2019
  • AcceptedMay 20, 2019
  • PublishedJul 11, 2019


The rapid development in the field of chemo-mechanical coupling has drawn increasing attention in recent years. Chemo-mechanical coupling phenomena exist in many research areas, ranging from development of advanced batteries, biomechanical engineering, hydrogen embrittlement, and high temperature oxidation, etc. In this review, we attempt to provide an overview of the recent advances in chemo-mechanical coupling study on high temperature oxidation. The theoretical frameworks, computational modeling, and experimental studies on this subject are summarized and discussed. The stress-diffusion coupling effect in diffusion-controlled oxidation process, stress-induced evolution of oxide morphology in microscale experiment, and stress-oxidation interaction at crack front for intergranular fracture are highlighted. In addition, potential applications and possible methods via surface engineering for improving oxidation-resistance of high temperature structural materials are briefly discussed.

Funded by

the National Basic Research Program of China(Grant,No.,2015CB351900)

and the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,Nos.,11625207,11320101001,11227801)


This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2015CB351900), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11625207, 11320101001, 11227801).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Image showing a turbine engine and the thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) on the turbine blade as well as the layered structure of the TBCs. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [10].

  • Figure 2

    Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images showing micro-cracks in the top ceramic layer in TBCs. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [32].

  • Figure 3

    Lateral growth strain as a function of oxide thickness for a FeCrAlY alloy oxidized at the temperatures indicated. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [35].

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Schematic showing interface reactions and diffusion of the species during metal oxidation at high temperature

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Schematic of stress-diffusion coupling effect for diffusion-controlled oxidation process.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) (a) Schematic of the force equilibrium of the oxide film/substrate system; (b) the stress effect on the diffusion of oxygen; (c) theoretical prediction by the model compared with the experimental data for oxidation evolution of SiC at different temperatures. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [14].

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) (a) The oxidation kinetics with the stress and diffusion coupling effect (solid line) and without the coupling effect (dash line), respectively; (b) the non-dimensional stress evolution during oxidation with coupling effect (solid line) and without coupling effect (dash line). The coupling effect inhibits the stress increase. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [14].

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) (a) Schematic of an oxide film/substrate system and the oxidation process; (b) schematic showing the relationship of stress and strain between the oxide film and substrate. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [72].

  • Figure 9

    (Color online) (a) Comparison of the theoretical prediction by present model with the experimental results; (b) evolution of oxide film thickness with time. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [72].

  • Figure 10

    (Color online) (a) The schematic diagram for oxidation products formed during oxidation of pure ZrB2 at high temperature; (b) the simplified microstructure of the oxide and the residual substrate, with magnified view of the cross section; (c) an arbitrary selected representative volume element for the conceptual framework of TCM model. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [30].

  • Figure 11

    Further oxidation of the substrate metals after the rupture of the top oxide layer and growth of cavities. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [74].

  • Figure 12

    (Color online) (a) Vacancy distribution, (b) oxygen concentration and (c) stress distribution for different a for V=0, V=0.5, and V=1.01. a is the non-dimensional coupling coefficient between chemical reactions, diffusion and migration caused by the electrochemical potential. V is the electrical voltage difference between two surfaces, λ is a defined length scale, h/λ is the non-dimensional spatial displacement. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [76].

  • Figure 13

    (Color online) SEM images showing the oxide film grown on the substrate of MoCu alloy after three-point bending test at 500°C for 60 min. (a) Region with compressive stress; (b) region with tensile stress.

  • Figure 14

    SEM images showing the different oxide growth. (a) Irregular oxide growth in region with compressive stress; (b) columnar oxide growth in region with tensile stress.

  • Figure 15

    (Color online) Schematic of oxidation and stress superposition under three-point bending: L, H and B represent the length, thickness and width of the specimen, respectively. The origin of coordinates is set at the center of the beam, and x, y, z axis are along the beam length, thickness and width, respectively. P is the applied load on the beam. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [15].

  • Figure 16

    (Color online) (a) The oxidation kinetics comparison between the model prediction and experimental data; (b) the oxide thickness along the top and bottom of the specimen at different oxidation times. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [15].

  • Figure 17

    (Color online) Schematic showing the different stress states in the vicinity of a Berkovich indentation imprint.

  • Figure 18

    (Color online) Schematic illustration of the experimental flow of the three comparative tests. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [86].

  • Figure 19

    (Color online) TEM observations of samples subjected to different oxidation conditions. (a) Sample A oxidized at 600°C for 30 min; (b) sample B oxidized at 600°C for 60 min; (c) sample C at room temperature for comparison; (d) measurement of the oxide thickness for tensile and compressive stress dominated areas for 3 samples.

  • Figure 20

    (Color online) Evolution of the surface morphology at 600°C measured by SPM. (a) Displays the incipient oxidation at 600°C, so the oxidation time t=0 min is set here as a reference state; (b)–(f) surface morphology evolution until t=87 min. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [91].

  • Figure 21

    (Color online) Competition between the curvature related surface energy (flattening) effect and strain energy (roughening) effect. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [91].

  • Figure 22

    (Color online) (a)–(c) Preparation of a SiO2 micro-pillar array on single crystal Ni-based alloy; (d)–(e) full-field mapping of the oxide film thickness at different temperatures and times using the SiO2 micro-pillar as a reference marker; (f) schematic drawing of the two-stage oxide islands formation. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [93].

  • Figure 23

    (Color online) Oxide intrusion along a GB in Ni-base superalloy. (a) TEM bright-field image of a closed intergranular oxide at the crack tip; (b) selected area diffraction pattern of the oxide with matrix spots blacked out; (c) STEM EDX elemental ratio map of the very tip of this oxide (rotated 45° clockwise). Image reproduction with permission from ref. [116].

  • Figure 24

    (Color online) Bright field STEM image (a), EDX map (b) showing the oxide intrusion at the crack tip. The relative concentration of O in the EDX maps increases from low to high in the sequence: black, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [1].

  • Figure 25

    Grain boundary failure after the micro-cantilever being oxidized and bent. (a) Intergranular crack growth; (b) FIB-milled cross-sectional view of the base of cantilever after testing. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [121].

  • Figure 26

    TEM images showing the morphologies in the vicinity of the indentation areas and the white arrows indicate the tip area of each indent. (a) Sample A with crack; (b) sample B with no crack; (c) sample C with no crack. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [86].

  • Figure 27

    (Color online) (a) Crack initiated in the vicinity of the nanovoid at the oxide grain boundaries in the upper oxide layer and penetrated through the nanotwins beneath the oxide layer; (b) oxygen concentration map from Cliff-Lorimer quantification; (c), (d) confirmation of the nanotwin structure in the vicinity of the crack. The positions of sub-images (b) and (c) are indicated in (a) with blue and red squares, respectively. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [86].

  • Figure 28

    (Color online) (a), (b) ABF-STEM images of crack and nanotwin structures ahead of the crack tip; (c) the white contrast indicated by the black arrows ahead of the apparent crack tip is caused by the material thinning due to potential crack propagtaion; (d) high magnificaiton of the nanotwin strucutre. The red dashed lines indicate the twin boundaries. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [86].

  • Figure 29

    (Color online) Schematic illustration of (a) the variation of the normal stress along an oxide intrusion (0<x<l) in the absence of an applied load, and ahead of a stationary crack tip (x=0) [130]; (b) oxide intrusion and oxide extrusion at the crack tip and the red curve indicates the schematic stress distribution [133]. Image reproduction with permissions.

  • Figure 30

    (Color online) Schematics showing the formation of oxides along a GB located ahead of an elastic crack subjected to a static stress σ. Image reproduction with permission from ref. [114].

  • Figure 31

    Penny-shape inclusion along the grain boundary at the crack front.

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