Laser surface treatment-introduced gradient nanostructured TiZrHfTaNb refractory high-entropy alloy with significantly enhanced wear resistance

Jiasi Luo, Wanting Sun, Ranxi Duan, Wenqing Yang, K. C. Chan, Fuzeng Ren, Xu Sheng Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Heterogeneous gradient nanostructured metals have been shown to achieve the strength-ductility synergy, thus potentially possessing the enhanced tribological performance in comparison with their homogeneous nanograined counterparts. In this work, a facile laser surface remelting-based surface treatment technique is developed to fabricate a gradient nanostructured layer on a TiZrHfTaNb refractory high-entropy alloy. The characterization of the microstructural evolution along the depth direction from the matrix to the topmost surface layer shows that the average grain size in the ∼100 µm-thick gradient nanostructured layer is dramatically refined from the original ∼200 µm to only ∼8 nm in the top surface layer. The microhardness is therefore gradually increased from ∼240 HV in matrix to ∼650 HV in the topmost surface layer, approximately 2.7 times. Noticeably, the original coarse-grained single-phase body-centered-cubic TiZrHfTaNb refractory high-entropy alloy is gradually decomposed into TiNb-rich body-centered-cubic phase, TaNb-rich body-centered-cubic phase, ZrHf-rich hexagonal-close-packed phase and TiZrHf-rich face-centered-cubic phase with gradient distribution in grain size along the depth direction during the gradient refinement process. As a result, the novel laser surface treatment-introduced gradient nanostructured TiZrHfTaNb refractory high-entropy alloy demonstrates the significantly improved wear resistance, with the wear rate reducing markedly by an order of magnitude, as compared with the as-cast one. The decomposed multi-phases and gradient nanostructures should account for the enhanced wear resistance. Our findings provide new insights into the refinement mechanisms of the laser-treated refractory high-entropy alloys and broaden their potential applications via heterogeneous gradient nanostructure engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • Gradient nanostructure
  • High-resolution transmission electron microscopy
  • Laser surface treatment
  • Refractory high-entropy alloy
  • Wear resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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