Group precipitation and age hardening of nanostructured Fe-based alloys with ultra-high strengths.
ABSTRACT: The precipitation of nanoparticles plays a key role in determining the properties of many structural materials, and the understanding of their formation and stabilization mechanisms has been a long standing interest in the material field. However, the critical issues involving the group precipitation of various nanoparticles and their cooperative hardening mechanism remain elusive in the newly discovered Fe-based alloys with nanostructures. Here we quantitatively elucidate the nucleation mechanism, evolution kinetics and hardening effects of the group-precipitated nanoparticles in the Fe-Cu-Ni-Al-based alloys by atom probe tomography together with both first-principles and thermodynamic calculations. Our results provide the compelling evidence for two interesting but complex group precipitation pathways of nanoparticles, i.e., the Cu-rich and NiAl-based precipitations. The co-existence of the two precipitation pathways plays a key role in age hardening kinetics and ultimately enhances the hardening response, as compared to the single particle type of strengthening, therefore providing an effective new approach for strengthening materials for structural applications.
Project description:Transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) leads to enhancements in ductility in low stacking fault energy (SFE) alloys, however to achieve an unconventional increase in strength simultaneously, there must be barriers to dislocation motion. While stacking faults (SFs) contribute to strengthening by impeding dislocation motion, the contribution of SF strengthening to work hardening during deformation is not well understood; as compared to dislocation slip, twinning induced plasticity (TWIP) and TRIP. Thus, we used in-situ neutron diffraction to correlate SF strengthening to work hardening behavior in a low SFE Fe<sub>40</sub>Mn<sub>20</sub>Cr<sub>15</sub>Co<sub>20</sub>Si<sub>5</sub> (at%) high entropy alloy, SFE ~?6.31 mJ m<sup>-2</sup>. Cooperative activation of multiple mechanisms was indicated by increases in SF strengthening and ?-f.c.c.????-h.c.p. transformation leading to a simultaneous increase in strength and ductility. The present study demonstrates the application of in-situ, neutron or X-ray, diffraction techniques to correlating SF strengthening to work hardening.
Project description:Bulk ultrafine grained (UFG)/nanocrystal metals possess exceptional strength but normally poor ductility and thermal stability, which hinder their practical applications especially in high-temperature environments. Through microalloying strategy that enables the control of grains and precipitations in nanostructured regime, here we design and successfully produce a highly microstructure-stable UFG Al-Cu-Sc alloy with ~275% increment in ductility and simultaneously ~50% enhancement in yield strength compared with its Sc-free counterpart. Although the precipitations in UFG alloys are usually preferentially occurred at grain boundaries even at room temperature, minor Sc addition into the UFG Al-Cu alloys is found to effectively stabilize the as-processed microstructure, strongly suppress the ?-Al2Cu phase precipitation at grain boundary, and remarkably promote the ?'-Al2Cu nanoparticles dispersed in the grain interior in artificial aging. A similar microalloying strategy is expected to be equally effective for other UFG heat-treatable alloys.
Project description:In metallurgical applications, precipitation strengthening is of great technological importance to engineer materials with the required strength. While precipitation hardening is essential for many applications involving operation at elevated temperatures, its subsequent embrittlement can be a showstopper for the overall performance of a component. In the nuclear industry, irradiation-induced/enhanced precipitation and the resulting embrittlement often limit the lifetime of components. In fusion applications, tungsten (W) based alloys are known to harden and embrittle as a result of irradiation-assisted transmutation to rhenium (Re) and its subsequent precipitation into non-coherent precipitates. Hence, a fundamental understanding of the interaction of dislocations with non-coherent precipitates is of great interest. In the present work, the interaction of dislocations with non-coherent Re-rich ?, ? and hcp phase precipitates embedded in a bcc W matrix is assessed. Large-scale atomistic simulations are performed to clarify the interaction mechanisms and derive the obstacle strength of the precipitates in the quasi-static limit. Thereby the impact of precipitate shape, size, interspacing and composition is assessed. Based on those results, an analytical model to predict precipitation hardening of ?, ? and hcp phase particles in bcc W is proposed and compared to available experimental data from mechanical tests on irradiated materials.
Project description:It is commonly accepted that twinning can induce an increase of strain-hardening rate during the tensile process of face-centered cubic (FCC) metals and alloys with low stacking fault energy (SFE). In this study, we explored the grain size effect on the strain-hardening behavior of a Cu-15 at.%Al alloy with low SFE. Instead of twinning, we detected a significant contribution of stacking faults (SFs) irrespective of the grain size even in the initial stage of tensile process. In contrast, twinning was more sensitive to the grain size, and the onset of deformation twins might be postponed to a higher strain with increasing the grain size. In the Cu-15 at.%Al alloy with a mean grain size of 47 μm, there was a stage where the strain-hardening rate increases with strain, and this was mainly induced by the SFs instead of twinning. Thus in parallel with the TWIP effect, we proposed that SFs also contribute significantly to the plasticity of FCC alloys with low SFE.
Project description:The effects of aluminum on the mechanical properties and corrosion behavior in artificial seawater of Cu-Ni-Fe-Mn alloys were investigated. Cu-7Ni-xAl-1Fe-1Mn samples, consisting of 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7 wt % aluminum along with the same contents of other alloying elements (Ni, Fe, and Mn), were prepared. The microstructure of Cu-7Ni-xAl-1Fe-1Mn alloy was analyzed by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and its corrosion property was tested by an electrochemical system. The results show that the mechanical and corrosion properties of Cu-7Ni-xAl-1Fe-1Mn alloy have an obvious change with the aluminum content. The tensile strength has a peak value of 395 MPa by adding 3 wt % aluminum in the alloy. Moreover, the corrosion rate in artificial seawater of Cu-7Ni-3Al-1Fe-1Mn alloy is 0.0215 mm/a which exhibits a better corrosion resistance than the commercially used UNS C70600. It is confirmed that the second-phase transformation of Cu-7Ni-xAl-1Fe-1Mn alloy follows the sequence of ? solid solution ? Ni?Al ? Ni?Al + NiAl ? Ni?Al + NiAl?. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) shows that the adding element aluminum in the Cupronickel can improve the corrosion resistance of Cu-7Ni-xAl-1Fe-1Mn alloy.
Project description:The precipitation strengthening of Cu alloys inevitably accompanies lowering of their electric conductivity and ductility. We produced bulk Cu alloys arrayed with nanofibers of stiff intermetallic compound through a precipitation mechanism using conventional casting and heat treatment processes. We then successfully elongated these arrays of nanofibers in the bulk Cu alloys to 400% of original length without breakage at room temperature using conventional rolling process. By inducing such an one-directional array of nanofibers of intermetallic compound from the uniform distribution of fine precipitates in the bulk Cu alloys, the trade-off between strength and conductivity and between strength and ductility could be significantly reduced. We observed a simultaneous increase in electrical conductivity by 1.3 times and also tensile strength by 1.3 times in this Cu alloy bulk compared to the conventional Cu alloys.
Project description:The effect of the Ni/Si mass ratio and combined thermomechanical treatment on the microstructure and properties of ternary Cu-Ni-Si alloys is discussed systematically. The Cu-Ni-Si alloy with a Ni/Si mass ratio of 4-5 showed good comprehensive properties. Precipitates with disc-like shapes were confirmed as the Ni2Si phase with orthorhombic structure through transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and 3D atom probe characterization. After the appropriate thermomechanical treatment, the studied alloy with a Ni/Si mass ratio of 4.2 exhibited excellent mechanical properties: a hardness of 290 HV, tensile strength of 855 MPa, yield strength of 782 MPa, and elongation of 4.5%. Compared with other approaches, the thermomechanical treatment increased the hardness and strength without sacrificing electrical conductivity. Theoretical calculations indicated that the high strength was primarily attributed to the Orowan precipitation strengthening and secondarily ascribed to the work hardening, which were highly consistent with the experimental results. The appropriate Ni/Si mass ratio with a low content of Ni and Si atoms shows high strength and excellent electrical conductivity through combined thermomechanical treatment. This work provides a guideline for the design and preparation of multicomponent Cu-Ni-Si-X alloys with ultrahigh strength and excellent electrical conductivity.
Project description:Age-hardening in Al alloys has been used for over a century to improve its mechanical properties. However, the lack of direct observation limits our understanding of the dynamic nature of the evolution of nanoprecipitates during age-hardening. Using in-situ (scanning) transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM) while heating an Al-Cu alloy, we were able to follow the growth of individual nanoprecipitates at atomic scale. The heat treatments carried out at 140, 160, 180 and 200?°C reveal a temperature dependence on the kinetics of precipitation and three kinds of interactions of nano-precipitates. These are precipitate-matrix, precipitate-dislocation, and precipitate-precipitate interactions. The diffusion of Cu and Al during these interactions, results in diffusion-controlled individual precipitate growth, an accelerated growth when interactions with dislocations occur and a size dependent precipitate-precipitate interaction: growth and shrinkage. Precipitates can grow and shrink at opposite ends at the same time resulting in an effective displacement. Furthermore, the evolution of the crystal structure within an individual nanoprecipiate, specifically the mechanism of formation of the strengthening phase, ?', during heat-treatment is elucidated by following the same precipitate through its intermediate stages for the first time using in-situ S/TEM studies.
Project description:Transition metal diborides are ceramic materials with potential applications as hard protective thin films and electrical contact materials. We investigate the possibility to obtain age hardening through isostructural clustering, including spinodal decomposition, or ordering-induced precipitation in ternary diboride alloys. By means of first-principles mixing thermodynamics calculations, 45 ternary M(1)1-x M(2)xB2 alloys comprising M(i)B2 (M(i) = Mg, Al, Sc, Y, Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Nb, Ta) with AlB2 type structure are studied. In particular Al1-xTixB2 is found to be of interest for coherent isostructural decomposition with a strong driving force for phase separation, while having almost concentration independent a and c lattice parameters. The results are explained by revealing the nature of the electronic structure in these alloys, and in particular, the origin of the pseudogap at EF in TiB2, ZrB2, and HfB2.
Project description:The plastic behaviour of individual Cu crystallites under nanoextrusion is studied by molecular dynamics simulations. Single-crystal Cu fcc nanoparticles are embedded in a spherical force field mimicking the effect of a contracting carbon shell, inducing pressure on the system in the range of gigapascals. The material is extruded from a hole of 1.1-1.6 nm radius under athermal conditions. Simultaneous nucleation of partial dislocations at the extrusion orifice leads to the formation of dislocation dendrites in the particle causing strain hardening and high flow stress of the material. As the extrusion orifice radius is reduced below 1.3 Å we observe a transition from displacive plasticity to solid-state amorphisation.