To improve the mechanical properties of high-entropy alloys (HEAs) and expand the application range of metastable engineering, the NbZrTiTa alloy was researched. The results show that this alloy exhibits uniform element distribution and a metastable single-phase body-centered cubic (BCC) structure. During loading, element diffusion occurs, and then the TiZr-rich and TaNb-rich regions form. The increased Ti and Zr content reduces the stability of the BCC structure and leads to in-situ structure transformation in the TiZr-rich region. Element diffusion and structure transformation improve ductility by absorbing the loading work and releasing internal stresses. Furthermore, interface strengthening caused by the formation of the dual-phase region and the coherent nano-precipitation due to the compositional fluctuations together enhance the strength. The co-contribution of various metastable-induced strengthening and toughening mechanisms distinguishes the strength and ductility of the single-phase NbZrTiTa HEA from those of all the reported refractory systems. More importantly, the successful utilization of the novel metastable engineering induced by element diffusion in single-phase HEA provides a useful guide to design HEAs and other structural materials.
Wang, R., Tang, Y., Li, S., Zhang, H., Ye, Y., Zhu, L., … Bai, S. (2019). Novel metastable engineering in single-phase high-entropy alloy. Materials and Design, 162, 256–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2018.11.052