In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, an alloy or other composite material is provided formed of a bulk metallic glass matrix with a microstructure of crystalline metal particles. The alloy preferably has a composition of (X.sub.a Ni.sub.b Cu.sub.c).sub.100-d-c Y.sub.d Al.sub.c, wherein the sum of a, b and c equals 100, wherein 40.ltoreq.a.ltoreq.80, 0.ltoreq.b.ltoreq.35, 0.ltoreq.c.ltoreq.40, 4.ltoreq.d.ltoreq.30, and 0.ltoreq.e.ltoreq.20, and wherein preferably X is composed of an early transition metal and preferably Y is composed of a refractory body-centered cubic early transition metal. A preferred embodiment of the invention also provides a method of producing an alloy composed of two or more phases at ambient temperature. The method includes the steps of providing a metastable crystalline phase composed of at least two elements, heating the metastable crystalline phase together with at least one additional element to form a liquid, casting the liquid, and cooling the liquid to form the alloy. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the composition and cooling rate of the liquid can be controlled to determine the volume fraction of the crystalline phase and determine the size of the crystalline particles, respectively.
The invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-FG02-98ER45699 awarded by the Department of Energy and Grant No. DAAD-19-01-2-0003 awarded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The government has certain rights in the invention.