The mechanisms of metallic glass formation and competing crystallization processes in mechanically-deformed Ni-Zr multilayered composites have been investigated by means of differential scanning calorimetry and x-ray diffraction. Our investigation of the heat of formation of amorphous NixZr1−x alloys shows a large negative heat of mixing (on the order of 30 kJ/mole) for compositions near Zr55Ni45 with a compositional dependence qualitatively similar to that predicted by mean field theory. We find that the products of solid state reactions in composites of Ni and Zr can be better understood in terms of the equilibrium phase diagram and the thermal stability of liquid quenched metallic glasses. We have determined the composition of the growing amorphous phase at the Zr interface in these Ni-Zr diffusion couples to be 55 ± 4% Zr. We investigated the kinetics of solid state reactions competing with the solid state amorphization reaction and found the value of the activation energy of the initial crystallization and growth of the growing amorphous phase to be 2.0 ± 0.1 eV, establishing an upper limit on the thermal stability of the growing amorphous phase.
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