Grain boundaries in a nanocrystalline microstructure produce an increase in the excess free energy of the system. Grain growth is a consequence of the thermodynamic driving force reducing this excess. Thermodynamic stabilization is an approach based on eliminating the driving force by suitable alloy additions that can produce a metastable equilibrium state at the nanoscale grain size, as opposed to kinetic stabilization where the grain growth mobility is restricted by pinning and/or drag mechanisms. The present paper reviews and compares various models proposed for thermodynamic stabilization.
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