Computational Analysis of Stable Hard Structures in the Ti-B System

Pengfei Li, Rulong Zhou, Xiao Cheng Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The lowest energy crystalline structures of various stoichiometric titanium boride (Ti-B) intermetallic compounds are sought based on density functional theory combined with the particle-swarm optimization (PSO) technique. Besides three established experimental structures, i.e., FeB-type TiB, AlB2-type, and Ta3B4-type Ti3B4, we predict additional six metastable phases at these stoichiometric ratios, namely, α- and β-phases for TiB, TiB2, and Ti3B4, respectively. Moreover, we predict the most stable crystalline structures of four new titanium boride compounds with different stoichiometric ratios: Ti2B-PSA, Ti2B3-PSB, TiB3-PSC, and TiB4-PSD. Notably, Ti2B-PSA is shown to have lower formation energy (thus higher stability) than the previously proposed Al2Cu-type Ti2B. The computed convex-hull and phonon dispersion relations confirm that all the newly predicted Ti-B intermetallic crystals are thermodynamically and dynamically stable. Remarkably, the predicted α-TiB2 and β-TiB2 show semi-metal-like electronic properties and possess high Vickers hardnesses (39.4 and 39.6 GPa), very close to the lower limit of superhard materials (40 GPa). Analyses of band structure, density of states, electronic localization function, and various elastic moduli provide further understanding of the electronic and mechanical properties of the intermetallic titanium borides. We hope the newly predicted hard intermetallic titanium borides coupled with desirable electronic properties and high elastic modulus will motivate future experimental synthesis for applications such as high-temperature structural materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15607-15617
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015


  • density functional theory
  • electronic structures
  • hard electronic materials
  • mechanical properties
  • particle-swarm optimization technique
  • titanium boride compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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