Massive interstitial solid solution alloys achieve near-theoretical strength

Liu, C. and Lu, W. and Xia, W. and Du, C. and Rao, Z. and Best, J.P. and Brinckmann, S. and Lu, J. and Gault, B. and Dehm, G. and Wu, G. and Li, Z. and Raabe, D.

Volume: 13 Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28706-w
Published: 2022

Interstitials, e.g., C, N, and O, are attractive alloying elements as small atoms on interstitial sites create strong lattice distortions and hence substantially strengthen metals. However, brittle ceramics such as oxides and carbides usually form, instead of solid solutions, when the interstitial content exceeds a critical yet low value (e.g., 2 at.%). Here we introduce a class of massive interstitial solid solution (MISS) alloys by using a highly distorted substitutional host lattice, which enables solution of massive amounts of interstitials as an additional principal element class, without forming ceramic phases. For a TiNbZr-O-C-N MISS model system, the content of interstitial O reaches 12 at.%, with no oxides formed. The alloy reveals an ultrahigh compressive yield strength of 4.2 GPa, approaching the theoretical limit, and large deformability (65% strain) at ambient temperature, without localized shear deformation. The MISS concept thus offers a new avenue in the development of metallic materials with excellent mechanical properties. © 2022, The Author(s).

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