Loss-free tensile ductility of dual-structure titanium composites via an interdiffusion and self-organization strategy

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jul 11;120(28):e2302234120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2302234120. Epub 2023 Jul 3.


The deformation-coordination ability between ductile metal and brittle dispersive ceramic particles is poor, which means that an improvement in strength will inevitably sacrifice ductility in dispersion-strengthened metallic materials. Here, we present an inspired strategy for developing dual-structure-based titanium matrix composites (TMCs) that achieve 12.0% elongation comparable to the matrix Ti6Al4V alloys and enhanced strength compared to homostructure composites. The proposed dual-structure comprises a primary structure, namely, a TiB whisker-rich region engendered fine grain Ti6Al4V matrix with a three-dimensional micropellet architecture (3D-MPA), and an overall structure consisting of evenly distributed 3D-MPA "reinforcements" and a TiBw-lean titanium matrix. The dual structure presents a spatially heterogeneous grain distribution with 5.8 μm fine grains and 42.3 μm coarse grains, which exhibits excellent hetero-deformation-induced (HDI) hardening and achieves a 5.8% ductility. Interestingly, the 3D-MPA "reinforcements" show 11.1% isotropic deformability and 66% dislocation storage, which endows the TMCs with good strength and loss-free ductility. Our enlightening method uses an interdiffusion and self-organization strategy based on powder metallurgy to enable metal matrix composites with the heterostructure of the matrix and the configuration of reinforcement to address the strength-ductility trade-off dilemma.

Keywords: dual structure; hetero-deformation-induced (HDI) hardening; interdiffusion; powder metallurgy; titanium matrix composites (TMCs).