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Novel Ti-base nanostructure–dendrite composite with enhanced plasticity


Single-phase nanocrystalline materials undergo inhomogeneous plastic deformation under loading at room temperature, which results in a very limited plastic strain (smaller than 0–3%). The materials therefore display low ductility, leading to catastrophic failure, which severely restricts their application. Here, we present a new in situ-formed nanostructured matrix/ductile dendritic phase composite microstructure for Ti-base alloys, which exhibits up to 14.5% compressive plastic strain at room temperature. The new composite microstructure was synthesized on the basis of the appropriate choice of composition, and by using well-controlled solidification conditions. Deformation occurs partially through dislocation movement in dendrites, and partially through a shear-banding mechanism in the nanostructured matrix. The dendrites act as obstacles restricting the excessive deformation by isolating the highly localized shear bands in small, discrete inter-dendritic regions, and contribute to the plasticity. We suggest that microscale ductile crystalline phases might therefore be used to toughen nanostructured materials.

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Figure 1: Microstructures of as-cast 3-mm-diameter alloy cylinders.
Figure 2: Room-temperature compressive stress–strain curves for as-cast 3-mm-diameter cylinders.
Figure 3: Observation on deformed and fracture surface.


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We thank M. Frey, H.Grahl, M. Gründlich, A. Güth, H.-J. Klauβ, U. Kühn, C. Mickel, S. Müller-Litvanyi, S. Roth, S. Schinnerling, A. Schwab and Z. F. Zhang for technical assistance and stimulating discussions. This work was supported by the EU within the framework of the RTN-Network on bulk metallic glasses (HPRN-CT-2000-00033). G. He is very grateful for the financial support of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation.

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Correspondence to Guo He.

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He, G., Eckert, J., Löser, W. et al. Novel Ti-base nanostructure–dendrite composite with enhanced plasticity. Nature Mater 2, 33–37 (2003).

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