A recent study has shown the progress in 3D printing of high-entropy alloys (HEAs), combining multiple metals to create materials suited for extreme conditions. Traditionally, additive manufacturing of HEAs faced challenges due to poor ductility, limiting their application. Researchers have now overcome this by employing laser-based AM, which significantly enhances both the ductility and strength of these alloys.
The new method developed by the team involves laser-based additive manufacturing to create nanometer-thick nano-lamellae in HEAs. These nano-lamellae are made up of alternating layers of face-centered cubic (FCC) and body-centered cubic (BCC) crystal structures. The unique structure of these layers contributes to the material’s improved mechanical properties. The HEAs produced through this method exhibit high yield strengths of nearly 1.3 gigapascals and an elongation of about 14%, surpassing the performance of even the strongest titanium alloys.
To understand these improvements, the research utilized advanced techniques such as electron microscopy, neutron and X-Ray scattering. Data from the Spallation Neutron Source and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, both DOE facilities, along with the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, played a crucial role in analyzing the internal mechanics and microstructures of these alloys.
The potential applications of these enhanced HEAs are vast, ranging from manufacturing sectors that require materials with high fracture resistance, durability, and reliability. The energy efficiency of the laser-based AM process also adds to the appeal of these novel HEAs. This research, funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, represents a significant step in material science and additive manufacturing.
You can read the full research paper, titled “Strong yet ductile nanolamellar high-entropy alloys by additive manufacturing” in Nature at this link.
Come and let us know your thoughts on our Facebook, X, and LinkedIn pages, and don’t forget to sign up for our weekly additive manufacturing newsletter to get all the latest stories delivered right to your inbox.