George Smith (etal) reported that in the early stages of copper precipitation, precipitation can be accelerated by additions of Nickel, despite the fact that we do not expect Nickel to segregate from thermodynamic calculations (based on continuum assumptions). Atom probe results show that Nickel segregates to the boundary between the two phases, this was explained by consideration of pair-wise interaction energies. Modelling was performed using a Monte-Carlo scheme which reproduced the observed precipitation sequences based on interaction energies.
Nickel is friendly to both Cu and Fe, while Cu-Fe don’t get on together so well.
From this type of explanation we should be able to make a prediction of which alloying elements can similarly accelerate or diminish the formation of clusters/ nuclei.
To do this I would like to calculate or find a table of interaction energies.