The Relationship of Microstructure to Fracture and Corrosion Behavior of a Directionally Solidified Superalloy
Trexler, Matthew David
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SUMMARY GTD-111 DS is a directionally solidified superalloy currently used in turbine engines. To accurately predict the life of engine components it is essential to examine and characterize the microstructural evolution of the material and its effects on material properties. The as-cast microstructure of GTD-111 is highly inhomogeneous as a result of coring. The current post-casting heat treatments do not effectively eliminate the inhomogeneity. This inhomogeneity affects properties including tensile strength, fracture toughness, fracture path, and corrosion behavior, primarily in terms of the number of grains per specimen. The goal of this work was to link microstructural features to these properties. Quantitative fractography was used to determine that the path of cracks during failure of tensile specimens is influenced by the presence of carbides, which are located in the interdendritic regions of the material as dictated by segregation. The solvus temperature of the precipitate phase, Ni3(Al, Ti), was determined to be 1200C using traditional metallography, differential thermal analysis, and dilatometry. A heat-treatment was designed to homogenize the microstructure for tensile testing that isolates the carbide by dissolving all of the eutectic Ni3(Al, Ti) precipitate phase, which is also found in the interdendritic areas. High temperature oxidation/sulfidation tests were conducted to investigate the corrosion processes involved when GTD-111 DS is utilized in steam and gas combustion turbine engines. The kinetics of corrosion in both oxidizing and sulfidizing atmospheres were determined using thermogravimetric analysis. Additionally, metallography of these samples after TGA revealed a correlation between the presence of grain boundaries and sulfur attack, which led to catastrophic failure of the material under stress-free conditions in a sulfur bearing environment. In summary, this work correlates the inhomogeneous microstructure of GTD-111 DS to tensile fracture, and the corrosion process in turbine engines.