Microstructural Characterization, Visualization, and Simulation of Ti-B Materials
Lieberman, Scott Ian
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Additions of boron in modified titanium alloys and Ti-B composites result in the in situ formation during high temperature processing of TiB reinforcement phases that improve the mechanical properties and wear resistance of unreinforced titanium alloys, while still utilizing the high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance of titanium. Several boron-modified titanium alloys and Ti-B composites in a Ti-6Al-4V matrix have been investigated to determine the effect of processing parameters on the TiB reinforcement phases and resultant microstructures and mechanical properties. Using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, conventional characterization techniques, and newly developed methodologies for three-dimensional visualization, the microstructures of these Ti-B materials have been studied. Observations included a similar anisotropic whisker morphology with roughly hexagonal cross-sections among all TiB phases; alignment of all TiB phases with extrusion, with the extent of alignment affected by thermomechanical processing parameters; brittle fracture behavior of TiB whiskers, with fracture down the length of whiskers not aligned in the tensile direction and across the width of whiskers aligned in the tensile direction; and discoveries of the anisotropic morphologies of the coarse primary TiB phase and the sub-micron precipitated TiB phase. It has been observed that extruded boron-modified alloys with compositions in the hypoeutectic regime of the quaternary system of titanium, alloying elements aluminum and vanadium, and boron, containing a unimodal size distribution of eutectic TiB whiskers, significantly improve the strength and stiffness compared to unreinforced Ti-6Al-4V alloy while also demonstrating tensile elongation to failure within the fracture-critical limits required for aerospace structural applications. Materials design methodologies have been developed using Ti-B materials, and they show promise for predicting the effects of processing parameters and the resultant microstructures and mechanical properties for boron-modified titanium alloys and Ti-B composites optimized for a variety of commercial and industrial applications.