What is the role of rhenium in single crystal superalloys?
1 School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK
2 Engineering Science Department, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK
3 Materials Department, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PH, UK
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhenium plays a critical role in single-crystal superalloys –its addition to first generation alloys improves creep life by a factor of at least two, with further benefits for fatigue performance. Its use in alloys such as PWA1484, CMSX-4 and Rene N5 is now widespread, and many in this community regard Re as the “magic dust”. In this paper, the latest thinking concerning the origins of the “rhenium-effect” is presented. We start by reviewing the hypothesis that rhenium clusters represent barriers to dislocation motion. Recent atom probe tomography experiments have shown that Re may instead form a solid solution with Ni at low concentrations (< 7 at.%). Density functional theory calculations indicate that, in the solid solution, short range ordering of Re may be expected. Finally, Re has been shown to diffuse slowly in the γ-Ni phase. Calculations using a semi-analytical dislocation climb/glide model based upon the work of McLean and Dyson have been used to rationalise the composition-dependence of creep deformation in these materials. All evidence points to two important factors: (i) the preferred partitioning of Re to the γ phase, where dislocation activity preferentially occurs during the tertiary creep regime and (ii) a retardation effect on dislocation segments at γ/γ′ interfaces, which require non-conservative climb and thus an associated vacancy flux.
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