Structure-property relations in superalloy single crystals
This research is concerned with a single crystal nickel-base superalloy which has been developed for application as a high pressure turbine blade material in jet aircraft engines. The microstructures and mechanical properties of superalloys, including the effects of heat-treatments, have been reviewed. The effects of heat-treatments on the γ' precipitate distributions have been investigated. During ageing at 900°C or 800°C, the precipitates adopt an irregular, rounded and highly interconnected microstructure, indicative of precipitate coalescence, whilst at higher ageing temperatures a regular cuboidal precipitate morphology is formed. The kinetics of precipitate coarsening have been investigated, and slight deviations from the power-law predicted by a number of theoretical models were observed. These deviations have been discussed in terms of a progressive transition in the dominant coarsening mechanism. Constant load creep tests were carried out, and although the tensile axis was nominally parallel to , the degree and direction of misorientation were found to be critical to the extent of the primary creep strain. Primary creep was shown to proceed by slip on a single (111) system, until the activation of intersecting slip systems brings about the onset of the secondary creep stage. The extent of primary creep has been shown to be reduced by application of a final ageing treatment at 870°C. Precipitate shear by paired dislocations in intense slip bands occurs during high strain-rate deformation at both ambient temperature and at 750°C. Application of a final ageing treatment at 870°C was found to increase the 0.2% proof stress and to bring about the activation of an alternative mode of precipitate shear by dissociated dislocations. The 870°C ageing treatment was shown to cause slight chemical changes at the γ/γ' interfaces, and these are believed to have caused the observed changes in mechanical properties.