• Deformation;
  • Metallic glasses;
  • Nanocomposites;
  • Nanocrystalline materials


The recent progress in the development of nanostructured composites is described for Zr-base multicomponent alloys as a typical example for such materials. These advanced composite materials are attractive candidates for structural as well as functional applications. The combination of high strength with high elastic strain of fully nanocrystalline and glassy alloys renders them quite unique in comparison to conventional (micro-)crystalline materials. However, one major drawback for their use in engineering applications is the often limited macroscopic plastic deformability, despite the fact that some of these alloys show perfectly elastic-plastic deformation behavior. To improve the room temperature ductility of either fully nanocrystalline or amorphous alloys, the concept of developing a heterogeneous microstructure combining a glassy or nanostructured matrix with second-phase particles with a different length-scale, has recently been employed. This review describes the composition dependent metastable phase formation in the Zr-(Ti/Nb)-Cu-Ni-Al alloy system, which in turn alters the mechanical properties of the alloys. We emphasize the possibilities to manipulate such composite microstructures in favor of either strength or ductility, or a combination of both, and also discuss the acquired ability to synthesize such in-situ high-strength composite microstructures in bulk form through inexpensive processing routes.