Ultrastrong lightweight compositionally complex steels via dual-nanoprecipitation

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Science Advances  13 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 46, eaba9543
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba9543


High-performance lightweight materials are urgently needed, given the pressing quest for weight reduction and the associated energy savings and emission reduction. Here, by incorporating the multi–principal element feature of compositionally complex alloys, we develop the concept of lightweight steels further and propose a new class of compositionally complex steels (CCSs). This approach allows us to use the high solid solution strengthening and shift the alloys’ compositions into previously unattainable phase regions where both nanosized shearable κ-carbides and non-shearable B2 particles are simultaneously formed. The achievement of dual-nanoprecipitation in our CCSs leads to materials with ultrahigh specific tensile strength (up to 260 MPa·cm3 g−1) and excellent tensile elongation (13 to 38%), a combination outperforming all other high-strength high-entropy alloys and advanced lightweight steels. Our concept of CCSs is thus useful for guiding the design of ultrastrong lightweight metallic materials.

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