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Intermetallics 15 (2007) 810e813

Effects of alloying elements on phase stability in

NbeSi system intermetallics materials
Shiyu Qu*, Yafang Han, Liguo Song
Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials, P.O. Box 81-1, Beijing 100095, PR China
Available online 7 February 2007


The effects of alloying elements, such as Ti, Cr, Al and Hf on phase stability in NbeSi system intermetallics materials have been investigated
by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectrum (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The binary, ternary and mul-
ticomponent alloys have been fabricated by vacuum non-consumable arc melting method. The results showed that Ti and Hf tend to stabilize
Nb3Si phase to lower temperatures, while Cr and Al promote the direct formation of Nb5Si3 phase. The coordinate effects of alloying elements
on microstructures of NbeSi system intermetallics materials have also been examined.
Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: NbeSi; A. Intermetallics, miscellaneous; E. Phase stability, prediction

1. Introduction already been demonstrated for tough, strong Nb/Nb5Si3 in

situ composites [9]. This target is at least 25% lower than den-
Advanced aeronautical engines require materials with high sities of third-generation single-crystal superalloys. In this
temperature capability and reasonable balance of properties paper, the process, microstructure and mechanical properties
such as low temperature toughness, high temperature strength, of refractory Nb-silicide-based composites have been studied.
creep resistance and oxidation resistance. Nb/Nb5Si3 in situ
composites [1e4] may have the potential of meeting the high 2. Experimental procedure
temperature requirements of advanced turbine engines. The
potential of increased temperature capability of Nb/Nb5Si3 in The highly pure starting raw metals of Nb, Ti, Cr, Al and Si
situ composites is estimated as nearly 200  C for both bulk were selected to prepare the binary, ternary and multicompo-
average temperature and maximum surface temperature as nent alloys. The chemical compositions of the alloys in the
compared to the current single-crystal superalloys [5,6]. The present investigation are listed in Table 1, in which, alloys
demonstrated rupture performance of the Nb/Nb5Si3 in situ 2e5# are used to examine the effects of Cr, Al, Hf, Ti on phase
composites compares well to the second- and third-generation stability in NbeSi system alloys, compared with 1#. While al-
single-crystal superalloys. However, the use of the Nb/Nb5Si3 loys 6e11# are used to examine coordinate effects of alloying
in situ composites at surface temperatures much higher than elements on the microstructures of NbeSi system alloys.
1370  C [7,8] will require further substantial increase in oxida- Small alloy button ingots were prepared by arc melting un-
tion resistance for both the Nb/Nb5Si3 in situ composites and der an argon atmosphere on a water-cooled copper hearth, us-
protective coatings. The density target for the Nb/Nb5Si3 in ing a non-consumable tungsten electrode. The alloy buttons
situ composites is <6.8 g/cm3, and a density of 7.2 g/cm3 has were melted at least 3 times to assure the chemical homogene-
ity of constituent elements.
Specimens for microstructural observations were prepared
* Corresponding author. by electro-discharge machining (EDM). Microstructural im-
E-mail address: (S. Qu). ages were taken using back-scattered electron image (BEI)

0966-9795/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
S. Qu et al. / Intermetallics 15 (2007) 810e813 811

Table 1
Compositions of the NbeSi system alloys in this study
No. Composition (at%)
1# Nbe16Si
2# Nbe16Sie6Cr
3# Nbe16Sie6Al
4# Nbe16Sie2Hf
5# Nbe16Sie24Ti
6# Nbe16Sie6Cre6Al
7# Nbe16Sie24Tie6Al
8# Nbe16Sie24Tie6Cr
9# Nbe16Sie6Cre2Hf
10# Nbe16Sie6Ale2Hf
11# Nbe16Sie24Tie6Cre6Ale2Hf

to identify the constituent phases. The crystal structures and Fig. 1. Microstructure of the binary Nbe10 at% Si alloys.
lattice parameters of the constituent phases were analyzed
by X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique. as-cast Nbe16 at% Si (alloy 1#), the microstructure consisted
of the dispersed bright particles of size 1e10 mm in the contin-
uous dark matrix, indicating Nb secondary phase and the
3. Results and discussion Nb3Si matrix. The larger particles (about 10 mm) are the pri-
mary-Nb phases formed during solidification and the finer par-
3.1. Effects of Cr, Al, Hf, Ti on phase stability ticles (about 1 mm) are the secondary-Nb phases formed
in NbeSi system alloys during the eutectic reaction.
Fig. 2 shows the microstructures for the ternary NbeSi sys-
Fig. 1 shows the typical microstructure observed using tem alloys alloying with Cr, Al, Hf and Ti (alloys 2e5#). It can
SEM for the binary NbeSi system alloys (alloy 1#). For the be seen for the alloy with Al addition (alloy 3#, Fig. 2(b)) that

Fig. 2. Microstructures of the ternary NbeSi alloys (a) 2#, Nbe16Sie6Cr; (b) 3#, Nbe16Sie6Al; (c) 4#, Nbe16Sie2Hf; (d) 5#, Nbe16Sie24Ti.
812 S. Qu et al. / Intermetallics 15 (2007) 810e813

the microstructure consisted of the dispersed dark particles in microstructure consisted of Nb solid solution and Nb3Si
the continuous matrix, and the result of EDS analysis indicated matrix, similar to that of NbeSi binary alloy. However, the
that the dark phases are Nb5Si3 phases, suggesting that Al morphologies of component phases in alloys with Hf and Ti
addition can promote the direct formation of equilibrium additions are different from the binary alloy, a great amount
Nb5Si3 phase. From the NbeSi binary phase diagram [10], of dendrite Nb phases occurring.
the composition of L / bcc(Nb) þ Nb3Si eutectic is about It must be noticed that for the alloy with Cr addition (alloy
18.2 at% Si. The formation of Nb5Si3 phase implied that the 2#, Fig. 2(a)), although the microstructure consisted of the
alloy is in the composition range of hypereutectic, suggesting bright primary-Nb particles, the results of EDS and XRD anal-
that Al tends to substitute Si. yses showed that the matrix is Nb5Si3 phase, indicating that Cr
For the alloys with Hf and Ti additions (alloys 4# and 5#, addition can also promote the direct formation of equilibrium
Fig. 2(c),(d)), the results of EDS analysis showed that the Nb5Si3 phase.

Fig. 3. Microstructures of the multicomponent NbeSi alloys (a) 6#, Nbe16Sie6Cre6Al; (b) 7#, Nbe16Sie24Tie6Al; (c) 8#, Nbe16Sie24Tie6Cr; (d) 9#, Nbe
16Sie6Cre2Hf; (e) 10#, Nbe16Sie6Ale2Hf; (f) 11#, Nbe16Sie24Tie6Cre6Ale2Hf.
S. Qu et al. / Intermetallics 15 (2007) 810e813 813

3.2. The coordinate effects of alloying elements Acknowledgement

on microstructures of NbeSi alloys
This work was sponsored by the Aeronautical Science Fund
In order to examine the coordinate effects of alloying ele- (no. 03G21003) and ‘‘863’’ project (no. 2003AA305810).
ments on microstructures of NbeSi alloys, the microstructures
of NbeCreAleSi, NbeTieAleSi, NbeTieCreSi, NbeCre
HfeSi, NbeAleHfeSi and NbeTieCreAleHfeSi alloys
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