Bridging room-temperature and high-temperature plasticity in decagonal Al–Ni–Co quasicrystals by micro-thermomechanical testing

Zou, Yu; Wheeler, Jeffrey M.; Sologubenko, Alla S.; Michler, Johann; Steurer, Walter; Spolenak, Ralph

Philosophical Magazine 96 (2016)

Ever since quasicrystals were first discovered, they have been found to possess many unusual and useful properties. A long-standing problem, however, significantly impedes their practical usage: steady-state plastic deformation has only been found at high temperatures or under confining hydrostatic pressures. At low and intermediate temperatures, they are very brittle, suffer from low ductility and formability and, consequently, their deformation mechanisms are still not clear. Here, we systematically study the deformation behaviour of decagonal Al–Ni–Co quasicrystals using a micro-thermomechanical technique over a range of temperatures (25–500 °C), strain rates and sample sizes accompanying microstructural analysis. We demonstrate three temperature regimes for the quasicrystal plasticity: at room temperature, cracking controls deformation; at 100–300 °C, dislocation activities control the plastic deformation exhibiting serrated flows and a constant flow stress; at 400–500 °C, diffusion enhances the plasticity showing homogenous deformation. The micrometer-sized quasicrystals exhibit both high strengths of ~2.5–3.5 GPa and enhanced ductility of over 15% strains between 100 and 500 °C. This study improves understanding of quasicrystal plasticity in their low- and intermediate-temperature regimes, which was poorly understood before, and sheds light on their applications as small-sized structural materials.