Non-equilibrium grain boundary wetting in Cu–Ag alloys containing W nanoparticles

Shipeng Shu, Xuan Zhang, Pascal Bellon, Robert S. Averback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adding nanoparticles to soft matter and liquids is known to provide remarkable control in the processing of novel materials. Here, we demonstrate a similar potential in crystalline solids. Specifically, we show that the addition of a high density of W nanoparticles dramatically alters the coarsening behavior of precipitate-hardened Cu-Ag alloys. First, the nanoparticles suppress precipitate growth, but far more surprisingly, they induce non-equilibrium Ag wetting layers on grain boundaries. This observation is explained using kinetic Monte Carlo simulations, which show that caging of Ag precipitates by the W nanoparticles suppresses their growth and drives the formation of wetting layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalMaterials Research Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Coarsening resistance
  • Grain-boundary wetting
  • Nanoparticles
  • Non-equilibrium nanostructuring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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