Fundamental deformation behavior in high-entropy alloys: An overview

H. Y. Diao, R. Feng, K. A. Dahmen, P. K. Liaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


High-entropy alloys (HEAs), as a new class of materials, are nearly equiatomic and multi-element systems, which can crystallize as a single phase or multi-phases. Most of the HEAs described in the literature contain multiple phases (secondary phases, nanoparticles, and so on), rather than a single solid-solution phase. Thus, it is essential to review the typical mechanical properties of both single-phase and multiphase HEAs thoroughly, with emphases on (1) the fundamental physical mechanisms and (2) the difference from conventional alloys. In this paper, mainly based on different mechanical properties, HEAs are classified into four types for the first time, i.e., (a) HEA alloy systems of 3d-transition metals only (Type 1), (b) HEA alloy systems of transition metals with larger atomic-radius elements (Type 2), (c) HEA alloy systems of refractory metals (Type 3), and (4) others (Type 4). Then a number of aspects of mechanical behavior are reviewed and discussed, including the elastic anisotropy, yield strength, high-temperature performance, serration behavior, fracture toughness, and fatigue responses, which may serve as a demonstrative summary for the current progress in the scientific research of HEAs. Several mechanisms that quantitatively explain the mechanical properties of single-phase and multiphase HEAs in terms of basic defects (dislocations, twinning, precipitates, etc.) are discussed. A number of future research activities are suggested, based on the emphasis on developing high-performance structural materials. The review concludes with a brief summary of major mechanical properties and insights into the deformation behavior of single-phase and multiphase HEAs. The comparison and contrast between HEAs and conventional alloys remain the most compelling motivation for future studies. With the integrated experimental and simulation investigations, a clearer picture of the fundamental deformation behavior of single-phase and multiphase HEAs could be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-266
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Alloy types
  • Deformation mechanisms
  • Dislocation
  • High-entropy alloys
  • Mechanical properties
  • Serration behavior
  • Stacking faults
  • Twinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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