The Role of Carbon in Grain Refinement of Cast CrFeCoNi High-Entropy Alloys
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As a promising engineering material, high-entropy alloys (HEAs) CrFeCoNi system has attracted extensive attention worldwide. Their cast alloys are of great importance because of their great formability of complex components, which can be further improved through the transition of the columnar to equiaxed grains and grain refinement. In the current work, the influence of C contents on the grain structures and mechanical properties of the as-cast high-entropy alloy CrFeCoNi was chosen as the target and systematically studied via a hybrid approach of the experiments and thermodynamic calculations. The alloys with various C additions were prepared by arc melting and drop cast. The as-cast macrostructure and microstructure were characterized using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The cast HEAs transform from coarse columnar grains into equiaxed grains with the C level increased to ≥ 2 at. pct and the size of equiaxed grains is further decreased with the increasing C addition. It is revealed that the interdendritic segregation of Cr and C results in grain boundary precipitation of M23C6 carbides. The grain refinement is attributed to the additional constitutional supercoiling from the C addition. The yield stress and tensile strength at room temperature are improved due to the transition of columnar to equiaxed grains and grain refinement.
The authors would like to thank the support of the National Nature Science Foundation of China (51775204, 51301123, 51604222 and 51204073), the opening fund (SKLSP201711) of State Key Laboratory of Solidification Processing in NWPU, and the Analytical and Testing Center, HUST.
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