Science and technology in high-entropy alloys

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  • ReceivedNov 20, 2017
  • AcceptedDec 22, 2017
  • PublishedJan 2, 2018


Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51471025,51671020)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51471025 and 51671020).

Interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Zhang W prepared the manuscript under the direction of Zhang Y. Zhang Y and Liaw PK revised the manuscript. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Weiran Zhang is a PhD student at the State Key Laboratory for Advanced Metals and Materials, University of Science & Technology Beijing (USTB), under Prof. Zhang’s supervision. Her interest focuses on the low-activation of high-entropy alloys and DFT.

Peter K. Liaw obtained his BSc degree in physics from Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and his PhD in materials science and engineering from the Northwestern University. After working at Westinghouse Research and Development (R&D) Center for thirteen years, he joined the faculty and became an Endowed Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville. He has been working in the areas of fatigue, fracture, nondestructive evaluation, and life-prediction methodologies of structural alloys and composites. Since joining UT, his research interests include mechanical behavior, nondestructive evaluation, biomaterials, high-temperature alloys, bulk metallic glasses, high-entropy alloys, ceramic-matrix composites and coatings. He has published 890 peer-reviewed papers, edited more than 30 books.

Yong Zhang has been a full professor of the USTB & State Key Laboratory for Advanced Metals and Materials since 2004. He attained his Bachelor degree at Yanshan University in 1991, majored in materials science. He obtained Master degree majored in nuclear materials in 1993, and PhD in composite materials in 1998 at the USTB. Then he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, and Singapore-Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) Alliance (SMA). His interest focuses on high-entropy materials and serration behaviors.


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  • Figure 1

    Rising trend of alloy chemical complexity versus time (IMs: intermetallics or metallic compounds, HEA: high-entropy alloy). Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [1]. Copyright 2017, Springer.

  • Figure 2

    Alloys world based on the configurational entropy.

  • Figure 3

    Fabrication routes of HEAs.

  • Figure 4

    Schematic of multi-target co-deposition for HEAs.

  • Figure 5

    The bright-field image and corresponding diffraction pattern of the acicular precipitate in the Al0.5CoCrFeNi alloy (the precipitate possesses an ordered BCC crystal structure). Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [74]. Copyright 2014, Elsevier.

  • Figure 6

    Schematic of arc melting.

  • Figure 7

    Comparison of hardness between HEAs and conventional alloys before and after annealing. The data are from Ref. [17].

  • Figure 8

    (a) Compressive behaviour of various HEAs; (b) compressive yield strength versus temperature. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [19]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 9

    Tensile strength, yield strength, and elongation of the as-cast AlxCoCrFeNiMn alloys. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [87]. Copyright 2014, Elsevier.

  • Figure 10

    Tensile strength (a) and elongation (b) as a function of fiber diameter, respectively. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [36]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 11

    Comparison of Ep and Icorr between HEAs of AlxCoCrFeNi (x = 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7) and other conventional alloys in 3.5 wt% NaCl solution at room temperature. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [91]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 12

    Diagram of composite microstructures observed in the as-sintered condition. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [96]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 13

    (a) XRD patterns of Pb1−xSnTeSeLax HEAs; (b) the combined lattice and bipolar thermal conductivity for all the samples. The lattice thermal conductivity of PbTe, PbSe, and SnTe at room temperature is also shown in (b). The inset in (b) presents κκe as a function of 1,000/T. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [104]. Copyright 2017, Taylor & Francis Group.

  • Figure 14

    A map of time and spatial scales in computational materials.

  • Figure 15

    (a) Spin-polarized total DOS (density of states); (b) Co d partial DOS; (c) Fe d partial DOS; (d) Mn d partial DOS; (e) Ni d partial DOS; and (f) Al s, p and Cr d partial DOS for the FCC CoFeMnNi, FCC CoFeMnNiCr, and BCC CoFeMnNiAl from DFT calculations at 0 K; (g) Mn d-orbital-decomposed partial DOS. The vertical-dotted lines present the Fermi level. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [129]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 16

    (a) The influence of Al content on phase transition via Etot-T (total energy per atom-temperature); (b) the phase type of nucleation via radial distribution at different temperature below 2,650 K. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [24]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 17

    Comparison of the CALPHAD calculations and experimental observation of Al0·7CoCrFeNi HEA. (a) Equilibrium calculation; (b) optical-microscope image of the specimen aged at 1,523 K for 1,000 h; (c) APT result: FCC_A1; (d) APT result: BCC_A2 + BCC_B2. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [26]. Copyright 2016, Elsevier.

  • Figure 18

    The predicted phase composition after one- or two- components added to FeCoNi and NbMoTa. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [112]. Copyright 2015, the American Physical Society.

  • Figure 19

    The number of formed phases for experiments and CALPHAD calculations. Reproduced with the permission from Ref. [19]. Copyright 2017, Elsevier.

  • Figure 20

    The evolution of alloys.

  • Table 1   Mixing enthalpy data (kJ mol) between the elements of Fe, Ni, Cr, Cu, and Zr






















  • Table 2   Characteristics for the two generations of HEAs





    Atoms arrangement

    Typical alloys

    The traditional alloys

    1–2 principalelements

    Tougher than theelementary substance

    Fe-Ni, Fe-C,

    Cu-Al, Al-Mg

    The 1st generation HEAs

    At least 5 principal elements

    Single phase,equimolar



    The 2nd generation HEAs

    At least 4 principal elements

    Dual or complex phases, non-equimolar