Outstanding Radiation Resistance of Tungsten-based High Entropy Alloys
O. El-Atwani1, N. Li1, M. Li2, A. Devaraj3, J. K. S. Baldwin1, M. M. Schneider1, D. Sobieraj4, J. S. Wrobel4, D. D. Nguyen-Manh5, S. A. Maloy1, and E. Martinez6
1 Materials Science and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA.
2 Division of Nuclear Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA
3 Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
4 Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology, ul. Wołoska 141, 02-507 Warsaw, Poland
5 Department of Materials Science and Scientific Computing, CCFE, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Abingdon, OX14 3DB, UK
6 Theoretical Division, T-1, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA.
A novel W-based refractory high entropy alloy with outstanding radiation resistance has been developed. The alloy was grown as thin films showing a bimodal grain size distribution in the nanocrystalline and ultrafine regimes and a unique 4 nm lamella-like structure revealed by atom probe tomography (APT). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction show an underlying body-centered cubic crystalline structure with certain black spots appearing after thermal annealing at elevated temperatures. Thorough analysis based on TEM and APT correlated the black spots with second phase particles rich in Cr and V. After both in situ and ex situ irradiation, these precipitates evolve to quasi-spherical particles with no sign of irradiation-created dislocation loops even after 8 dpa at either room temperature or 1073 K. Furthermore, nanomechanical testing shows a large hardness of 14 GPa in the as-deposited samples, with a slight increase after thermal annealing and almost negligible irradiation hardening. Theoretical modeling based on ab initio methodologies combined with Monte Carlo techniques predicts the formation of Cr and V rich second phase particles and points at equal mobilities of point defects as the origin of the exceptional radiation tolerance. The fact that these alloys are suitable for bulk production coupled with the exceptional radiation and mechanical properties makes them ideal structural materials for applications requiring extreme conditions.