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Title: Evolution of microstructure and strength of a high entropy alloy undergoing the strain-induced martensitic transformation
In a recent work, we have reported outstanding strength and work hardening exhibited by a metastable high entropy alloy (HEA), Fe42Mn28Co10Cr15Si5 (in at. %), undergoing the strain-induced martensitic transformation from metastable gamma austenite (γ) to stable epsilon martensite (ε). However, the alloy exhibited poor ductility, which was attributed to the presence of the brittle sigma (σ) phase in its microstructure. The present work reports the evolution of microstructure, strength, and ductility of a similar HEA, Fe38.5Mn20Co20Cr15Si5Cu1.5 (in at. %), designed to suppress the formation of σ phase. A cast and then rolled plate of the alloy was processed into four conditions by annealing for 10 and 30 min at 1100 °C and by friction stir processing (FSP) at tool rotation rates of 150 and 400 revolutions per minute (RPM) to facilitate detailed examinations of variable initial grain structures. Neutron diffraction and electron microscopy were employed to characterize the microstructure and texture evolution. The initial materials had variable grain size but nearly 100% γ structure. Diffusionless strain induced γ→ε phase transformation took place under compression with higher rate initially and slower rate at the later stages of deformation, independent on the initial grain size. The transformation facilitated part of plastic strain accommodation and rapid strain hardening owing to a transformation-induced dynamic Hall-Petch-type barrier effect, increase in dislocation density, and texture. The peak strength of nearly 2 GPa was achieved under compression using the structure created by double pass FSP (150 RPM followed by 150 RPM). Remarkably, the tensile elongation exhibited by the alloy was nearly 20% with fracture surfaces featuring a combination of ductile dimples and cleavage.  more » « less
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Materials Science and Engineering: A
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National Science Foundation
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