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  • (2023) Muniandy, Yokasundery
    High-entropy alloys (HEAs) are a new class of metallic materials that contain five or more elements in near-equiatomic compositions and that have received significant research attention in the past decade. The reason for this is that some alloy systems have been reported to crystallise as single-phase materials with face-centred cubic (FCC) crystal structure despite their individual elements often having very different crystal structures. One such example, the CrMnFeCoNi alloy, one of the first HEAs reported by Cantor et al. in 2004, has, furthermore, excellent combinations of mechanical properties such as high strength, excellent ductility, and outstanding fracture toughness at room temperature; interestingly, in contrast to many other materials, these properties improve with decreasing temperature down to liquid nitrogen. The reason for this is the staggered activation of deformation mechanisms such as dislocation glide and nano-scale deformation twinning. While numerous studies have reported the CrMnFeCoNi alloy as well as many other multi-component alloy systems to be chemically homogeneous, little attention has been drawn to the impact of processing history on chemical complexity and as such clustering and ordering phenomena that may impact mechanical performance. In this work, CrMnFeCoNi alloys have been fabricated using different processing routes resulting in a chemically homogeneous and a chemically heterogeneous versions of the material. Using various characterisation methods such as a wavelength-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy-based electron micro-probe analyser (WDXS-EPMA) in combination with energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDXS) and atom probe tomography (APT), methods that can be utilised across multiple length scales, element composition as well as spatial distribution of the materials have been investigated. The two materials have furthermore been utilised for an APT parameter study to tailor data acquisition parameter for multi-component alloy systems to obtain high quality atom probe data. Based on the obtained results, a generalised multi-component short-range order (GM-SRO) parameter study was conducted to analyse ordering phenomena in the APT data of the HEAs and compared with medium-entropy alloy subsystems containing 3-4 elements and that can be associated with the HEAs in terms of their mechanical and/or elastic properties. Finally, two non-equiatomic alloys from the chemically distinct regions of the heterogeneous material were fabricated and compared in terms of microstructure development and associated mechanical performance to each other and the equiatomic HEA.