Microstructural development in equiatomic multicomponent alloys

B Cantor, Isaac Chang, P Knight, AJB Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2656 Citations (Scopus)


Multicomponent alloys containing several components in equal atomic proportions have been manufactured by casting and melt spinning, and their microstructures and properties have been investigated by a combination of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, X-ray diffractrometry and microhardness measurements. Alloys containing 16 and 20 components in equal proportions are multiphase, crystalline and brittle both as-cast and after melt spinning. A five component Fe20Cr20Mn20Ni20Co20 alloy forms a single fcc solid solution which solidifies dendritically. A wide range of other six to nine component late transition metal rich multicomponent alloys exhibit the same majority fcc primary dendritic phase, which can dissolve substantial amounts of other transition metals such as Nb, Ti and V More electronegative elements such as Cu and Ge are less stable in the fcc dendrites and are rejected into the interdendritic regions. The total number of phases is always well below the maximum equilibrium number allowed by the Gibbs phase rule, and even further below the maximum number allowed under non-equilibrium solidification conditions. Glassy structures are not formed by casting or melt spinning of late transition metal rich multicomponent alloys, indicating that the confusion principle does not apply, and other factors are more important in promoting glass formation. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2004


  • multicomponent alloys
  • equiatomic
  • casting


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