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Phase-transformation Ductilization of Brittle High-entropy Alloys via Metastability-engineering

High-entropy alloys (HEAs) in which interesting physical, chemical and structural properties are continuously revealing have recently attracted extensive attention. Body-center-cubic (bcc) HEAs, particularly those based on refractory elements are promising for high-temperature application but generally fail by early cracking with limited plasticity at room temperature, which limits their malleability and widespread uses. In this work, the “metastability engineering” strategy has been exploited in brittle bcc HEAs via tailoring stability of the constituent phases, and transformation-induced ductility and work hardening capability have been successfully achieved. Our work not only sheds new insights on development of HEAs with excellent combination of strength and ductility, but also has great implications on overcoming the long-standing strength-ductility tradeoff of metallic materials in general.