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Discovery of omega-free high-temperature Ti-Ta-X shape memory alloys from first principles calculations
The rapid degradation of the functional properties of many Ti-based alloys is due to the precipitation of the ω phase. In the conventional high-temperature shape memory alloy Ti-Ta, the formation of this phase compromises completely the shape memory effect, and high (>100∘C) transformation temperatures cannot be maintained during cycling. A solution to this problem is the addition of other elements to form Ti-Ta-X alloys, which often modifies the transformation temperatures; due to the largely unexplored space of possible compositions, very few elements are known to stabilize the shape memory effect without decreasing the transformation temperatures below 100∘C. In this study, we use transparent descriptors derived from first-principles calculations to search for new ternary Ti-Ta-X alloys that combine stability and high temperatures. We suggest four alloys with these properties, namely Ti-Ta-Sb, Ti-Ta-Bi, Ti-Ta-In, and Ti-Ta-Sc. Our predictions for the most promising of these alloys, Ti-Ta-Sc, are subsequently fully validated by experimental investigations, the alloy Ti-Ta-Sc showing no traces of ω phase after cycling. Our computational strategy is transferable to other materials and may contribute to suppress ω phase formation in a large class of alloys.