Mashing up metals with carbothermal shock

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Science  30 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6383, pp. 1467
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1471

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Different materials and the capabilities they enabled have marked the ages of civilization. For example, the malleable copper alloys of the Bronze Age provided harder and more durable tools. Most exploration of new alloys has focused on random alloys, in which the alloying metal sites have no metal preference. In binary and ternary metal systems, dissimilar elements do not mix readily at high concentrations, which has limited alloying studies to intermetallics (ordered multimetallic phases) and random alloys, in which minor components are added to a principal element. In 2004, crystalline metal alloys consisting of five or more principal elements in equal or nearly equal amounts (1, 2) were reported that were stabilized by their high configurational entropy. Unlike most random alloys, the “high-entropy” alloys (3, 4) reside in the centers of their multidimensional phase diagrams (see the figure, right). On page 1489 of this issue, Yao et al. (5) present an innovative and general route to high-entropy alloys that can mix up to eight elements into single-phase, size-controlled nanoparticles (NPs).