The enthalpy of formation is an important thermodynamic property. Developing fast and accurate methods for its prediction is of practical interest in a variety of applications. Material informatics techniques based on machine learning have recently been introduced in the literature as an inexpensive means of exploiting materials data, and can be used to examine a variety of thermodynamics properties. We investigate the use of such machine learning tools for predicting the formation enthalpies of binary intermetallic compounds that contain at least one transition metal. We consider certain easily available properties of the constituting elements complemented by some basic properties of the compounds, to predict the formation enthalpies. We show how choosing these properties (input features) based on a literature study (using prior physics knowledge) seems to outperform machine learning based feature selection methods such as sensitivity analysis and LASSO (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) based methods. A nonlinear kernel based support vector regression method is employed to perform the predictions. The predictive ability of our model is illustrated via several experiments on a dataset containing 648 binary alloys. We train and validate the model using the formation enthalpies calculated using a model by Miedema, which is a popular semiempirical model used for the prediction of formation enthalpies of metal alloys.
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