Uniform tensile ductility (UTD) is crucial for the forming/machining capabilities of structural materials. Normally, planar-slip induced narrow deformation bands localize the plastic strains and hence hamper UTD, particularly in body-centred-cubic (bcc) multi-principal element high-entropy alloys (HEAs), which generally exhibit early necking (UTD < 5%). Here we demonstrate a strategy to tailor the planar-slip bands in a Ti-Zr-V-Nb-Al bcc HEA, achieving a 25% UTD together with nearly 50% elongation-to-failure (approaching a ductile elemental metal), while offering gigapascal yield strength. The HEA composition is designed not only to enhance the B2-like local chemical order (LCO), seeding sites to disperse planar slip, but also to generate excess lattice distortion upon deformation-induced LCO destruction, which promotes elastic strains and dislocation debris to cause dynamic hardening. This encourages second-generation planar-slip bands to branch out from first-generation bands, effectively spreading the plastic flow to permeate the sample volume. Moreover, the profuse bands frequently intersect to sustain adequate work-hardening rate (WHR) to large strains. Our strategy showcases the tuning of plastic flow dynamics that turns an otherwise-undesirable deformation mode to our advantage, enabling an unusual synergy of yield strength and UTD for bcc HEAs.
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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the published article and Supplementary Information and are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.
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Y.X. and Liang W. acknowledge support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. U2241234). Liang W. acknowledges support from China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant no. 2019M660482). J.D. acknowledges support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 12004294) and National Youth Talents Program. E.M. acknowledges National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 52231001) and the 111 Project (grant no. BP2018008). E.M. and J.D. thank the support by Center for Alloy Innovation and Design (CAID) and the HPC platform of Xi’an Jiaotong University. K.J. acknowledges support from National MCF Energy R&D Program (grant no. 2022YFE03120000). Y.R. acknowledges support from City University of Hong Kong (grant no. 9610533). S.Z. acknowledges support from the Key Project of Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (grant no. 20JCZDJC00440). The use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory was supported by the US Department of Energy (grant no. DE-AC02-06CH11357). Y.X. and Liang W. thank Yandong Wang at State Key Laboratory for Advanced Metals and Materials, University of Science and Technology Beijing, for the suggestion on material characterization and mechanism analysis, and Fang Zhang at Analysis and Testing Center, Beijing Institute of Technology, for help with aberration-corrected TEM and STEM experiments.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Wang, L., Ding, J., Chen, S. et al. Tailoring planar slip to achieve pure metal-like ductility in body-centred-cubic multi-principal element alloys. Nat. Mater. 22, 950–957 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-023-01517-0