High-Strength Nanotwinned Al Alloys with 9R Phase

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Light-weight aluminum (Al) alloys have widespread applications. However, most Al alloys have inherently low mechanical strength. Nanotwins can induce high strength and ductility in metallic materials. Yet, introducing high-density growth twins into Al remains difficult due to its ultrahigh stacking-fault energy. In this study, it is shown that incorporating merely several atomic percent of Fe solutes into Al enables the formation of nanotwinned (nt) columnar grains with high-density 9R phase in Al(Fe) solid solutions. The nt Al-Fe alloy coatings reach a maximum hardness of ≈5.5 GPa, one of the strongest binary Al alloys ever created. In situ uniaxial compressions show that the nt Al-Fe alloys populated with 9R phase have flow stress exceeding 1.5 GPa, comparable to high-strength steels. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal that high strength and hardening ability of Al-Fe alloys arise mainly from the high-density 9R phase and nanoscale grain sizes.

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Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

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