Interfacial nanophases stabilize nanotwins in high-entropy alloys

Lu, W. and Liebscher, C.H. and Yan, F. and Fang, X. and Li, L. and Li, J. and Guo, W. and Dehm, G. and Raabe, D. and Li, Z.

Volume: 185 Pages: 218-232
DOI: 10.1016/j.actamat.2019.12.010
Published: 2020

Nanostructuring metals through nanograins and nanotwins is an efficient strategy for strength increase as the mean free path of dislocations is reduced. Yet, nanostructures are thermally often not stable, so that the material properties deteriorate upon processing or during service. Here, we introduce a new strategy to stabilize nanotwins by an interfacial nanophase design and realize it in an interstitial high-entropy alloy (iHEA). We show that nanotwins in a carbon-containing FeMnCoCrNi iHEA can remain stable up to 900 °C. This is enabled by co-segregation of Cr and C to nanoscale 9R structures adjacent to incoherent nanotwin boundaries, transforming the 9R structures into elongated nano-carbides in equilibrium with the nanotwin boundaries. This nanoscale 9R structures assisted nano-carbide formation leads to an unprecedented thermal stability of nanotwins, enabling excellent combination of yield strength (~1.1 GPa) and ductility (~21%) after exposure to high temperature. Stimulating the formation of nanosized 9R phases by deformation together with interstitial doping establishes a novel interfacial-nanophase design strategy. The resulting formation of nano-carbides at twin boundaries enables the development of strong, ductile and thermally stable bulk nanotwinned materials. © 2019 Acta Materialia Inc.

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