Chemically complex intermetallic alloys: A new frontier for innovative structural materials

Intermetallic materials are bestowed by diverse ordered superlattice structures together with many unusual properties. In particular, the advent of chemically complex intermetallic alloys (CCIMAs) has received considerable attention in recent years and offers a new paradigm to develop novel metallic materials for advanced structural applications. These newly emerged CCIMAs exhibit synergistic modulations of structural and chemical features, such as self-assembled long-range close-packed ordering, complex sublattice occupancy, and interfacial disordered nanoscale layer, potentially allowing for superb physical and mechanical properties that are unmatched in conventional metallic materials. In this paper, we critically review the historical developments and recent advances in ordered intermetallic materials from the simple binary to chemically complex alloy systems. We are focused on the unique multicomponent superlattice microstructures, nanoscale grain-boundary segregation, and disordering, as well as the various extraordinary mechanical and functional properties of these newly developed CCIMAs. Finally, perspectives on the future research orientation, challenges, and opportunities of this new frontier are provided.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2021.12.004