Accelerated analysis of the stability of complex alloys
by Staff Writers
Bochum, Germany (SPX) Jan 03, 2018
Material scientists at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum are able to determine if a new material remains stable under temperature load within the space of a few days. They have developed a novel process for analysing, for example, the temperature and oxidation resistance of complex alloys that are made up of a number of different elements. Previously, such analyses used to take months. The team headed by Prof Dr Alfred Ludwig and Dr Yujiao Li from the Institute for Materials and Center for Interface-Dominated High Performance Materials describes the process in the journal "Materials Horizons".
This method is ideally suited for so-called high-entropy alloys - materials that have recently been of great interest to researchers. Unlike traditional alloys, they do not consist of one main element and several additional elements in lower concentrations, but rather of a homogenous mixture of several elements.
"These alloys constitute a new resource for new materials. With an almost unlimited number of different material combinations, it is quite likely that materials will be discovered that surpass current materials with regard to certain properties," says Ludwig. The decisive factor is that the alloys remain stable and do not disintegrate into individual components even if they are exposed to thermal or chemical stress during application.
"This is why this method is so important," adds Ludwig.
"It can be used for testing potential candidates on the atomic scale within a short space of time."
Combination of methods is the key
They applied the complex alloy as a layer with a thickness of merely a few nanometres to 36 microscopically small tips. For this purpose, they deployed the sputter deposition method to deposit a specific mixture ratio of five metals to the tips simultaneously. In the thus applied layers, the metals can react with each other very quickly. The authors refer to the system as combinatorial processing platform.
Rendering millions of atoms visible
Atom Probe Tomography destroys the sample in the spot where it was tested; consequently, at least one coated tip is used up per measurement. However, as they had 36 identical tips at their disposal, the researchers were able to perform many tests in close succession.
Option to test for different properties
"Using this method, we can very quickly tell that the analysed alloy disintegrates into several different phases at temperatures above 300 degrees centigrade," says Ludwig.
"Moreover, we are able to explore its oxidation sensitivity and reactions in different ambient media." Based on the comprehensive measurement data and new visualisation methods for these data, the researchers can thus gain a grasp of phase evolution in complex alloys within a much shorter space of time than with traditional methods.
Krasnoyarsk, Russia (SPX) Jan 02, 2018
A team of scientists from Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center (Siberian Department of Russian Academy of Sciences) and Siberian Federal University synthesized thin crystal ferromagnetic films and developed a technology for their shaping. Processed films can be used in electronic and spintronic chips. The results of the study were published in Thin Solid Films journal. The team created films that ... read more
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