Strengthening in multi-principal element alloys with local-chemical- order roughened dislocation pathways

QJ Li and H Sheng and E Ma, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 10, 3563 (2019).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11464-7

High-entropy and medium-entropy alloys are presumed to have a configurational entropy as high as that of an ideally mixed solid solution (SS) of multiple elements in near-equal proportions. However, enthalpic interactions inevitably render such chemically disordered SSs rare and metastable, except at very high temperatures. Here we highlight the wide variety of local chemical ordering (LCO) that sets these concentrated SSs apart from traditional solvent-solute ones. Using atomistic simulations, we reveal that the LCO of the multiprincipal- element NiCoCr SS changes with alloy processing conditions, producing a wide range of generalized planar fault energies. We show that the LCO heightens the ruggedness of the energy landscape and raises activation barriers governing dislocation activities. This influences the selection of dislocation pathways in slip, faulting, and twinning, and increases the lattice friction to dislocation motion via a nanoscale segment detrapping mechanism. In contrast, severe plastic deformation reduces the LCO towards random SS.

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