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Radioactive isotopes reveal a non sluggish kinetics of grain boundary diffusion in high entropy alloys
High entropy alloys (HEAs) have emerged as a new class of multicomponent materials, which have potential for high temperature applications. Phase stability and creep deformation, two key selection criteria for high temperature materials, are predominantly influenced by the diffusion of constituent elements along the grain boundaries (GBs). For the first time, GB diffusion of Ni in chemically homogeneous CoCrFeNi and CoCrFeMnNi HEAs is measured by radiotracer analysis using the 63Ni isotope. Atom probe tomography confirmed the absence of elemental segregation at GBs that allowed reliable estimation of the GB width to be about 0.5 nm. Our GB diffusion measurements prove that a mere increase in number of constituent elements does not lower the diffusion rates in HEAs, but the nature of added constituents plays a more decisive role. The GB energies in both HEAs are estimated at about 0.8-0.9 J/m2, they are found to increase significantly with temperature and the effect is more pronounced for the CoCrFeMnNi alloy.