Deformation Mechanisms and Remarkable Strain Hardening in Single-Crystalline High-Entropy-Alloy Micropillars/Nanopillars
Qian Zhang, Ruirui Huang, Xuan Zhang, Tangqing Cao, Yunfei Xue, Xiaoyan Li
There have been very limited studies on plastic deformation mechanisms in single-crystalline high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with body-centered cubic (BCC) phases. We performed in situ uniaxial compression on single-crystalline BCC AlCrFeCoNi micropillars/nanopillars with three orientations (including , , and ) and diameters of 270–1583 nm, inside a scanning electron microscope. The experimental results showed the significant size effects on yield/flow stress and the remarkable strain hardening in these HEA micropillars/nanopillars. Especially, HEA micropillars/nanopillars with ⟨100⟩ orientation exhibited higher strain hardening exponents than BCC pure metals and Al0.7CrCoFeNi counterparts. A combination of transmission electron microscopy observations and large-scale atomistic simulations revealed that dislocation slip, reaction, tangling and accumulation, and solid solution effects are responsible for the observed size effects on yield/flow stress and remarkable strain hardening, but these dislocation mechanisms are dependent on nanopillar orientation. Our present study sheds light on the underlying deformation mechanisms in BCC HEA single crystals.