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Yield strength insensitivity in a dual-phase high entropy alloy after prolonged high temperature annealing
journal contributionposted on 19.08.2021, 15:22 by J Ahmed, Matthew DalyMatthew Daly
Recent studies of FeMnCoCr-based high entropy alloys have demonstrated uncommon deformation behaviors such as transformation-induced plasticity, which were largely believed to be restricted to select families of steels. Coupled with the potential for entropy stabilization of high symmetry phases at high temperatures, this system represents a promising class of materials for structural applications in extreme environments. Yet, transformation-induced plasticity mechanisms are notably sensitive to microstructure parameters and the literature offers examples of deleterious decomposition of high entropy alloys under heat treatment, which raises concerns of resiliency in mechanical performance. Here, we evaluate the evolution of microstructure and mechanical properties of a FeMnCoCr high entropy alloy after prolonged heat treatment at high temperature. Microstructures are found to retain their characteristic austenite/martensite features, with parent face-centered cubic grains partitioned by hexagonal close-packed laths after heat treatment at 1200 °C for up to 48 hours. Results of mechanical testing reveal an unusual insensitivity of this alloy to grain growth-induced weakening effects. Namely, the yield strengths of FeMnCoCr samples are observed to remain constant across all heat treatment conditions, despite a near four-fold increase in the grain size. Close examination of post-heat treatment microstructures reveals a dramatic decrease in the inter-lath spacing at longer durations, which segments parent austenite grains. This crystal partitioning counteracts conventional grain growth-induced weakening by introducing additional barriers for dislocation pile-up. These results offer new insights into the mechanical resiliency of this transformation-induced plasticity high entropy alloy under prolonged high temperature heat treatment.