Bio-mimic Ti-Ta composite with hierarchical “brick-and-mortar” microstructure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Shenghang Xu
  • Meng Du
  • Jia Li
  • Kun Yan
  • Quanfeng He
  • Qihong Fang
  • Oxana Magdysyuk
  • Bin Liu
  • Yong Yang
  • Yong Liu

Colleges, School and Institutes


Nature materials, such as bones and nacre, achieve excellent balance of toughness and strength via a hierarchical “brick-and-mortar” microstructure, which is an attractive model for engineering materials design. Here, we produced nacre-like Ti-Ta metallic composites via a powder metallurgy process, during which mixed powders were sintered by spark plasma sintering, followed by hot and cold rolling and then annealing. The structure consists of soft Ta-enriched regions and hard Ti-enriched regions in a hierarchical and laminated fashion. The microstructural heterogeneity spans several scales due to the diffusion between Ti and Ta. This yields a novel metal-metal composite with a balanced combination of strength and ductility (1226 MPa ultimate tensile strength and 20.8% elongation), outperforming most of conventional Ti based alloys and composites. Via the complementary in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and electron microscopies, it is found out that multiple micromechanisms are active, including nano-particle and dislocation localized strengthening as well as phase transformation induced plasticity. The manufacturing route developed here is versatile, capable of making high performance bio-mimic metallic composites.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100463
Early online date4 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Bio-mimic materials, Metal-metal composites, Ti-Ta, Microstructure