Grain Boundary Segregation in Metals and Relevant Properties

A special issue of Metals (ISSN 2075-4701).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2024 | Viewed by 1301

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, City, University of London, Northampton Square, London EC1V OHB, UK
Interests: hot ductility of steels; structure/property relationships in steels
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Guest Editor Assistant
Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City 04510, Mexico
Interests: microstructural, structural and mechanical materials characterization; thermo-mechanical, thermal and mechanical processing of metallic alloys; advanced high strength steels (AHSS)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although there has been a recent issue (Metals 2019) devoted to the segregation of atoms to the boundaries, it is believed that this is an area which has tremendous potential for improving the properties of metals and alloys and accounts for the plethora of papers that are being published on the subject and so needs continuous attention. It is believed that the segregation of solute atoms to the grain boundaries and other structural defects as well as the interaction between them can dictate the properties of metals such as strength, ductility and impact behaviour, corrosion and weldability, particularly for steels. There is also a movement to use segregation to the boundaries as a means of designing alloys. This Special Issue is designed to attract more of such papers. Part of this increased interest in the subject has come through the development of new techniques which has enabled accurate studies to be made of the grain boundaries and their contents. There are now many techniques available to identify the atoms at the boundaries (e.g., atom-probe tomography (APT), auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and high-resolution analytical transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMs), dual electron energy loss spectroscopy (Dual EELS) as well as the development of theoretical models based on phase-field or molecular dynamics simulations so that grain boundary engineering is becoming a real possibility in alloy design, and papers covering this topic will be welcome.

The Special Issue will cover the following:

  • Papers which use modern characterization techniques to identify the atoms at the boundaries and the properties that they are influencing.
  • Experimental techniques which can assess segregation, i.e., identification and quantification of the amount of segregation, taking into account factors like cooling rates, temperature and time at temperature and the matrix concentration.
  • Competitiveness of elements in reaching the grain boundaries and their choice between segregation to particles in the matrix rather than to the boundaries.
  • The role of ionic bonding in controlling the cohesive strength of the boundary.
  • The role of dislocations, precipitation and vacant sites at the boundaries in influencing the metallic bonding at the boundaries, as well as experiment-based explanations on clarifying non-equilibrium solute drag effect of solute atoms.
  • Presentation of theories to explain why certain atoms which segregate to the grain boundaries in metals influence the bonding, either by strengthening or weakening of the grain boundaries.
  • Instances where segregation to the boundaries may influence properties not solely by the bonding but also by other means such as the nucleation sites for the austenite to ferrite transformation in low C steels which boron has been credited as doing.
  • Most importantly, papers are required which show how grain boundary segregation can be used as a means of designing alloys to give better properties.

Prof. Dr. Barrie Mintz
Guest Editor

Prof. Dr. Antonio Enrique Salas Reyes
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Metals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • grain boundary segregation
  • ductility
  • corrosion
  • weldability
  • steel
  • atom-probe tomography
  • auger electron spectroscopy

Published Papers (1 paper)

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26 pages, 10780 KiB  
Comments on the Intermediate-Temperature Embrittlement of Metals and Alloys: The Conditions for Transgranular and Intergranular Failure
by Antonio Enrique Salas-Reyes, Abdullah Qaban and Barrie Mintz
Metals 2024, 14(3), 270; - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 999
The intermediate-temperature embrittlement range was examined for Fe, Al, Cu, and Ni alloys. It was found that this embrittlement occurs in many alloys, although the causes are very diverse. Embrittlement can be due to fine matrix precipitation, precipitate free zones, melting of compounds [...] Read more.
The intermediate-temperature embrittlement range was examined for Fe, Al, Cu, and Ni alloys. It was found that this embrittlement occurs in many alloys, although the causes are very diverse. Embrittlement can be due to fine matrix precipitation, precipitate free zones, melting of compounds at the grain boundaries, segregation of elements to the boundaries, and, additionally for steel, the presence of the soft ferrite film surrounding the harder austenite matrix. Grain boundary sliding and segregation to the boundaries seem to dominate the failure mode at the base of the trough when intergranular failure takes place. When cracking is due to the presence of hydrogen or liquid films at the boundary, then the dissociation along the boundaries is so easy, it is often independent of the strain rate and is always intergranular. In the other cases when failure occurs, if the deformation is carried out at a high strain rate, it is normally transgranular (e.g., hot rolling giving rise to edge cracking). However, when the strain rate is reduced to that of creep (e.g., bending during continuous casting of steel), failure can also take place by grain boundary sliding, and intergranular failure then becomes the favoured mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grain Boundary Segregation in Metals and Relevant Properties)
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