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Elemental segregation to lattice defects in the CrMnFeCoNi high-entropy alloy during high temperature exposures...

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Acta Materialia
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The influence of small plastic pre-strains on the elevated-temperature stability and microstructure of the equiatomic CrMnFeCoNi FCC solid solution is investigated. Particular attention is given to whether any of the alloy elements segregate to individual dislocations. To that end, CrMnFeCoNi samples were first deformed in tension at room temperature to plastic strains of 0.2 and 2.3%, and subsequently annealed at 973 K for 800 hours. The pre-strains activated planar slip of 1/2<110>-type dislocations on {111}-type glide planes. Interactions of this planar slip with special Σ3 grain boundaries formed a large number of dislocation segments with a <110>-type crystallographic orientation suitable for a credible end-on analysis of dislocation cores in HR-STEM. The cores of the 1/2<110> dislocations pushed up against the investigated grain boundaries were found to be close to the compact configuration. Within the sensitivity of the Super-X EDS mapping, no concentration gradient was detected near dislocations that would indicate enrichment at dislocation cores of any of the elemental constituents of the alloy after the pre-deformation and annealing. However, a Cr-rich tetragonal sigma phase nucleated and grew at grain boundary triple junctions during this anneal, processes that were not accelerated by the enhanced dislocation density present after pre-strain. A clear chromium gradient was observed in the Cr-depleted zones near grain boundaries suggesting that Cr transport occurred by relatively slow diffusion from the bulk to the grain boundaries and then by relatively fast diffusion along the grain boundaries to the precipitates. Accompanying the Cr depletion near grain boundaries is a simultaneous Ni and Mn enrichment, which promotes formation of the L10 NiMn phase that is observed on the grain boundaries after prolonged annealing.