A study of phase decomposition in two CuNiFe alloys was realized by AP-FIM. It was possible to confirm that phase decomposition takes place via spinodal decomposition in this alloy system, as the amplitude of the composition modulation increased with ageing time without practically any change in the wavelength of the modulation. It was also observed that the morphology of the decomposed phases is related to the coherency-strain energy as predicted by Cahn's theory of spinodal decomposition. By analysis of the data of the modulation wavelength, it was possible to estimate the coherent spinodal temperature to be 800 ± 25 and 900 ± 25 K in Cu46 at.% Ni4 at.% Fe and Cu48 at.% Ni8 at.% Fe alloys, respectively. In the early stage of decomposition, the change in modulation wavelength showed a time exponent as small as about 0.07. On the other hand, in the coarsening stage the change in the modulation wavelength agreed well with the LSW theory of thermally activated growth. The activation energy for this coarsening process was determined to be 216 ± 10 and 232 ± 10 kJ/mol in the Cu46 at.% Ni4 at.% Fe and Cu8 at.% Fe alloys, respectively. The compositions of the decomposed phases are consistent with the miscibility gap in the calculatedequilibrium CuNiFe phase diagram.
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