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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


SHONGWE, M.B.; WITCOMB, M.J.; CORNISH, L.A.  and  PAPO, M.J.. TEM studies of Pt-Al-Cr-Ru Alloys. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, suppl.1, pp.551-558. ISSN 2411-9717.

Pt-based alloys are being developed for high-temperature applications with the aim of replacing some of the currently used Ni-based superalloys (NBSAs) in the highest temperature applications. The Pt-based alloys have a similar structure to the NBSAs, and since Pt is more chemically inert than nickel and has a higher melting point, they can potentially be used at higher temperatures, up to 1 300°C, and in more aggressive environments. Several experimental Pt-based alloys were studied at Mintek, and an optimum composition was found to be Pt84:Aln:Ru2:Cr3 (at.%). On the basis of hardness and microstructure, a later study identified a new optimum: Pt78:Aln:Ru5:Cr6 (at.%). There are at least two Pt3Al allotropes, and the high-temperature cubic structure has better properties than the lower temperature tetragonal form, and so needs to be stabilized. This work describes the latest results obtained in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies of the quaternary Pt-based superalloys. These results are both interesting and important, because the samples have a higher precipitate density compared to those from earlier work. The precipitate morphology is mainly cubic, with minor areas having irregular-shaped precipitates. The high volume fraction of the precipitates is a major breakthrough, since the objective of this work is to improve the alloys. A prior disadvantage was that the proportion of the precipitates was too low in samples before this work, especially compared with the work from Germany on Pt-Al-Cr-Ni-based alloys as well as the NBSAs. TEM ~Pt3Al diffraction patterns were studied, and for each diffraction pattern, many possible lattice point combinations were tried, with the angle between the lattice spots as well as interplanar spacings being calculated for each phase (cubic or tetragonal) to match the measured results. An overall analysis of the diffraction results indicates that the cubic phase fitted the experimental lattice points with much lower errors compared to the tetragonal phase. Thus, with the close match achieved with the cubic structure, the structure of ~Pt3Al precipitates is likely to be cubic. X-ray diffraction has been carried out on selected samples, and the results confirmed the presence of cubic -Pt^Al and (Pt). Different X-ray diffractometers were used to further verify the results, and the results were also compared with those from TEM.

Keywords : Platinum alloys; TEM; precipitation strengthening..

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