Chemical inhomogeneity-induced profuse nanotwinning and phase transformation in AuCu nanowires

CP Yang and BZ Zhang and LB Fu and ZX Wang and J Teng and RW Shao and ZQ Wu and XX Chang and J Ding and LH Wang and XD Han, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 14, 5705 (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41485-2

Nanosized metals usually exhibit ultrahigh strength but suffer from low homogeneous plasticity. The origin of a strength-ductility trade-off has been well studied for pure metals, but not for random solid solution (RSS) alloys. How RSS alloys accommodate plasticity and whether they can achieve synergy between high strength and superplasticity has remained unresolved. Here, we show that face-centered cubic (FCC) RSS AuCu alloy nanowires (NWs) exhibit superplasticity of similar to 260% and ultrahigh strength of similar to 6 GPa, overcoming the trade-off between strength and ductility. These excellent properties originate from profuse hexagonal close-packed (HCP) phase generation (2H and 4H phases), recurrence of reversible FCC-HCP phase transition, and zigzag-like nanotwin generation, which has rarely been reported before. Such a mechanism stems from the inherent chemical inhomogeneity, which leads to widely distributed and overlapping energy barriers for the concurrent activation of multiple plasticity mechanisms. This naturally implies a similar deformation behavior for other highly concentrated solid- solution alloys with multiple principal elements, such as high/medium- entropy alloys. Our findings shed light on the effect of chemical inhomogeneity on the plastic deformation mechanism of solid-solution alloys.

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