A very broad distribution of microstructural length scales spanning few nm- to the μm-scale has proven effective to achieve exceptional materials properties. Here, we fabricate a Cu/Nb two-phase composite made of a hierarchically layered structure by modifying the conventional accumulative roll bonding (ARB) technique, where fresh Nb sheets are inserted and bonded during a repeated stacking and rolling process. This barcode-like multilayer with a designed hierarchical length scale distribution possesses densely distributed phase boundaries and rich interfacial structures. The composite demonstrates similar superconductivity characteristics as pure Nb, but is 3 × stronger, has theoretically better oxidation resistance, and retains considerable ductility. Under the helium irradiation environment, the unique interfacial structures featuring chemical intermixing zones (3-dimensional) are more immune to the formation of large helium clusters than atomically sharp interfaces (2-dimensional), screening them from radiation damage and improving their long-term mechanical integrity. This work signifies an effective strategy of constructing hierarchical laminates to achieve high-performance materials, which holds promise in fusion and fission energy applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys