Electron and phonon thermal conductivity in high entropy carbides with variable carbon content

Christina M. Rost, Trent Borman, Mohammad Delower Hossain, Mina Lim, Kathleen F. Quiambao-Tomko, John A. Tomko, Donald W. Brenner, Jon Paul Maria, Patrick E. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Due to their diverse bonding character and corresponding property repertoire, carbides are an important class of materials regularly used in modern technologies, including aerospace applications and extreme environments, catalysis, fuel cells, power electronics, and solar cells. The recent push for novel materials has increased interest in high entropy carbides (HECs) for such applications. The extreme level of tunability alone makes HECs a significant materials platform for a variety of fundamental studies and functional applications. We investigate the thermal conductivity of high entropy carbide thin films as carbon stoichiometry is varied. The thermal conductivity of the HEC decreases with an increase in carbon stoichiometry, while the respective phonon contribution scales with elastic modulus as the excess carbon content increases. Based on the carbon content, the HECs transition from an electrically conducting metal-like material with primarily metallic bonding to a primarily covalently-bonded crystal with thermal conductivities largely dominated by the phononic sub-system. When the carbon stoichiometry is increased above this critical transition threshold dictating bonding character, the electronic contribution to thermal conductivity is minimized, and a combination of changes in microstructure, defect concentration and secondary phase formation, and stiffness influence the phononic contribution to thermal conductivity. Our results demonstrate the ability to tune the thermal functionality of high entropy materials through stoichiometries that dictate the type of bonding environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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