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Title: Designing Nanoscale Precipitates in Novel Cobalt-based Superalloys to Improve Creep Resistance and Operating Temperature

High-temperature structural alloys for aerospace and energy applications have long been dominated by Ni-base superalloys, whose strength and creep resistance can be attributed to microstructures consisting of a large volume fraction of ordered (L1 2) γ'-precipitates embedded in a disordered’(f.c.c.) γ-matrix. These alloys exhibit excellent mechanical behavior and thermal stability, but after decades of incremental improvement are nearing the theoretical limit of their operating temperatures. Conventional Co-base superalloys are solid-solution or carbide strengthened; although they see industrial use, these alloys are restricted to lower-stress applications because the absence of an ordered intermetallic phase places an upper limit on their mechanical performance. In 2006, a γ+γ' microstructure with ordered precipitates analogous to (L1 2) Ni 3Al was first identified in the Co-Al-W ternary system, allowing, for the first time, the development of Co-base alloys with the potential to meet or even exceed the elevated-temperature performance of their Ni-base counterparts. The potential design space for these alloys is complex: the most advanced Ni-base superalloys may contain as many as 8-10 minor alloying additions, each with a specified purpose such as raising the γ' solvus temperature or improving creep strength. Our work has focused on assessing the effects of alloying additions on microstructuremore » and mechanical behavior of γ'-strengthened Co-base alloys in an effort to lay the foundations for understanding this emerging alloy system. Investigation of the size, morphology, and composition of γ' and other relevant phases is investigated utilizing scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 3-D picosecond ultraviolet local electrode atom probe tomography (APT). Microhardness, compressive yield stress at ambient and elevated temperatures, and compressive high-temperature creep measurements are employed to extract mechanical behavior. First-principle calculations have been employed to predict the stability of Co 3(Al 0.5,W 0.5) as well as to estimate important physical parameters, such as the anti-phase boundary (APB) energy, in this system. Additionally, 2D dislocation dynamics modeling has been employed to predict the effect of γ' precipitate size and volume fraction on the critical resolved shear stress of model Ni-base superalloy systems (for which experimental data are readily available in the archival literature) as well as for the case of model Co-base superalloys. Investigations of the ternary Co-Al-W system were carried out to establish baseline values for the composition, size, morphology, and volume fraction of the strengthening γ' precipitates with respect to aging time and temperature. The addition of grain-boundary strengtheners B and Zr were investigated and found to improve creep strength compared to ternary Co-Al-W, which suffers from brittle grain boundaries. Incorporation of Ni to extend the γ+γ' two-phase field coupled with systematic replacement of Ti for Al and W was shown to raise the γ' volume fraction and solvus temperature, while reducing the bulk alloy density by enabling a reduction in W content. Ti additions also promoted dramatic improvements in both room temperature flow stress as well as the magnitude of the anomalous flow behavior leading to substantial strength increases in the range 650 – 800 °C.« less
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  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; cobalt; superalloys; turbine blades; creep; alloy design; dislocations; strength