Researchers uncover new mechanism to extend the power and ductility of high-entropy alloys


Researchers from the Metropolis College of Hong Kong, Hunan College, Central South College in China and the College of Tennessee has found a brand new mechanism to extend the power and the ductility of a high-entropy alloy. The findings present necessary insights for the long run design of robust but ductile high-entropy alloys and high-entropy ceramics. A paper on the work is printed in Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The strength-ductility trade-off is a longstanding problem for typical alloys which can be often based mostly on one or two principal components, which means that rising the power often sacrifices ductility. Previously decade, a brand new alloy design technique was proposed: mixing not less than 4 a number of principal components to kind alloys, termed “multi-principal ingredient alloys” (MPEAs) or “high-entropy alloys” (HEAs). (Earlier put up.) MPEAs exhibit wonderful mechanical properties, similar to each nice ductility and very good power.

These wonderful mechanical properties are believed to originate from extreme atomic lattice distortion brought on by the random mixing of a number of principal components with distinct atomic sizes, bonding variations, and crystal construction variations, which in flip result in a heterogeneous lattice pressure impact.

Nevertheless, the heterogeneous lattice pressure subject (a pressure subject refers back to the distribution of pressure via a part of a physique) is troublesome to quantify and characterize, so its affect on strengthening alloys through three-dimensional (3D) dynamic dislocation has been ignored till just lately.

The most recent experiments and a sequence of simulations completed by the analysis crew co-led by Professor Yang Yong, in CityU’s Division of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor Fang Qihong, at Hunan College, present that the heterogeneous pressure subject may contribute to the improved mechanical properties of MPEAs via the brand new heterogeneous strain-induced strengthening mechanisms, resulting in strength-ductility synergy within the alloys.

Fig 3

Stress-strain curve and dislocation configuration/evolution in MPEAs. (A) is a diagram of DDD simulations for MPEAs. Photograph supply: Li, Jia et al.

Supplies science and engineering textbooks historically checklist 4 ductility-strengthening mechanisms: dislocation strengthening, solute strengthening, grain boundary strengthening and precipitation strengthening. This textbook data has been taught for lots of of years in universities to college students majoring in supplies science, mechanical engineering and utilized physics. Now we now have found a brand new ductility-strengthening mechanism via experiments and numerical simulations, which we name heterogeneous lattice pressure strengthening.

—Professor Yang

Not like conventional strengthening mechanisms, which often result in a strength-ductility trade-off, this newly found strengthening mechanism promotes strength-ductility synergy, which implies researchers can improve the power and ductility of a high-entropy alloy on the similar time.

The brand new findings assist clarify many current findings whose mechanisms are below debate and information the event of latest robust, but ductile metals and ceramics.

—Professor Yang

Within the experiments, the analysis crew first characterised the lattice strains within the high-entropy alloy FeCoCrNiMn utilizing methods similar to geometric part evaluation (GPA) based mostly on high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The researchers then carried out micropillar compression exams to review how dislocations glide and cross slip within the alloy. Subsequent, the crew carried out intensive discrete dislocation dynamics (DDD) simulations by incorporating the lattice strains measured experimentally.

Fig 4_0

Characterization of dislocation movement within the alloy utilizing discrete dislocation dynamics (DDD) simulations. Photograph supply: Li, Jia et al.

The experiments confirmed that the lattice pressure not solely restricted the dislocation movement, thus bettering the yield power, but in addition promoted dislocation cross slips to reinforce ductility. The findings demonstrated the numerous impact of the heterogeneous pressure subject on the mechanical properties of the alloy. They supply a brand new perspective to probe the origin of the excessive power of high-entropy alloys and open up new avenues for the event of superior crystalline supplies.

The mixed efforts of the experiments and pc simulations revealed the bodily mechanisms that underpin the strength-ductility synergy noticed within the experiments.

The findings of this examine present a elementary mechanism to beat the strength-ductility trade-off dealing with conventional alloys.

—Professor Yang


  • Li, Jia et al. (2022) “Heterogeneous lattice pressure strengthening in severely distorted crystalline solids” PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.2200607119


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