Role of Al additions in secondary phase formation in CoCrFeNi high entropy alloys

Elaf A. Anber, Nathan C. Smith, Peter K. Liaw, Christopher M. Wolverton, Mitra L. Taheri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


AlxCoCrFeNi High Entropy Alloys (HEAs), also referred to as multiprincipal element alloys, have attracted significant interest due to their promising mechanical and structural properties. Despite these attributes, AlxCoCrFeNi HEAs are susceptible to phase separation, forming a wide range of secondary phases upon aging, including NiAl-B2 and Cr-rich phases. Controlling the formation of these phases will enable the design of age-hardenable alloys with optimized corrosion resistance. In this study, we examine the critical role of Al additions and their concentration on the stability of the CoCrFeNi base alloy, uncovering the connections between Al composition and the resulting microstructure. Addition of 0.1 mol fraction of Al destabilizes the single-phase microstructure and results in the formation of Cr-rich body-centered-cubic (bcc) phases. Increasing the composition of Al (0.3-0.5 mol fraction) results in the formation of more complex coprecipitates, NiAl-B2 and Cr-rich bcc. Interestingly, we find that the increase of the Al content stimulates the formation of NiAl-B2 phases, increases the overall density of secondary phases, and influences the content of Cr in Cr-rich bcc phases. Density functional theory calculations of simple decomposition reactions of AlxCoCrFeNi HEAs corroborate the tendency for precipitate formation of these phases upon increased Al composition. Additionally, these calculations support previous results, indicating the base CoCrFeNi alloy to be unstable at low temperature. This work provides a foundation for predictive understanding of phase evolution, opening the window toward designing innovative alloys for targeted applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101108
JournalAPL Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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