Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

superalloys.

qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 1

AGE-HARDENABLE
SUPERALLOYS
To select the most suitable wrought dates back to about 1929, when various developers
added titanium and aluminum to the standard
age-hardenable superalloy for a 80% nickel/20% chromium resistance-wire alloy.
specific application, engineers must This was a precursor to the 80A nickel-base super-
know the basic mechanical properties alloy, developed during 1940 to 1944 but still in
use today.
as well as other characteristics such as Little was done to advance the original age-hard-
resistance to fatigue, crack growth, enable alloys until the time period of 1935 to 1944,
and corrosion. when World War II spurred demand for improved
alloys suitable for the early aircraft gas turbine en-
gines. Alloy development activity exploded in the
Richard B. Frank* 1950s and 1960s to keep pace with the demands of
Carpenter Technology Corporation the gas turbine engine industry. Progress in super-
Reading, Pennsylvania alloy development not only made the jet engine
possible, but also allowed for constantly increasing

S
uperalloys are high-performance materials thrust-to-weight ratios over the last 60 years.
designed to provide high mechanical The primary application for superalloys is still
strength and resistance to surface degrada- in hot sections of aircraft gas turbine engines, ac-
tion at high temperatures of 1200°F (650°C) counting for over 50% of the weight of advanced
or above. They combine high tensile, creep-rupture, engines. However, the excellent performance of
and fatigue strength; good ductility and toughness; these materials at elevated temperatures has ex-
and excellent resistance to oxidation and hot corro- panded their application far beyond this industry.
sion. Furthermore, superalloys are designed to re- In addition to aerospace components, these al-
tain these properties during long-term exposures loys are specified for turbine engines for marine,
at elevated temperatures. industrial, and land-based power generation, as
This article focuses on the wrought age-harden- well as vehicular applications. Specific engine parts
able alloys, which are the most common super- include turbine disks, blades, compressor wheels,
alloys. Wrought materials can be formed by hot- shafts, combustor cans, afterburner parts, and en-
working and cold-working operations. Not dis- gine bolts.
cussed here are the cast, powder metallurgy, and Beyond the gas turbine engine industries, su-
oxide dispersion-strengthened superalloys that peralloys are chosen for applications in rocket en-
can also offer enhanced properties. gines, space, petrochemical/energy production,
internal combustion engines, metal forming (hot-
Superalloy applications working tools and dies), heat-treating equipment,
The first age-hardenable, high-temperature alloy nuclear power reactors, and coal conversion.
*Member of ASM International Although these alloys are primarily for service

Table 1 — Nominal compositions of wrought age-hardenable superalloys*


Alloy Cr Ni Co Mo Ti Al Nb Zr Fe Other
Pyromet A-286 14.5 25 — 1.25 2 0.2 — 0.05 max Bal 0.3 V
NCF 3015 (Ni-30) 14.5 31 — 0.7 2.7 1.9 0.7 — Bal —
Pyromet 706 16 42 — — 1.7 0.2 3 — Bal —
Pyromet 901 13.5 43 — 6 3 0.2 — — Bal —
Pyromet 718 18.5 53 — 3 1 0.5 5.3 — 19 max —
Pyromet 41 19 54 11 10 3.2 1.7 — 0.04 2 max —
Pyromet 720 16 57 15 3 5 2.5 — 0.04 0.5 max 1.25 W
Pyromet 31V 23 57 — 2 2.3 1.3 0.9 0.05 14 —
Waspaloy 19 58 13 4.25 3 1.4 — 0.05 2 max —
Pyromet 751 15.5 71 — — 2.4 1.3 1 0.05 9 max —
Pyromet X-750 15 72 — — 2.6 0.75 0.9 0.05 9 max —
Pyromet 80A 20 75 — — 2.4 1.4 — 0.05 2 max —
Low-expansion superalloys (low chromium)
Pyromet CTX-909 0.5 max 37 14 — 1.6 0.15 max 5 — Bal —
Thermo-Span® 5.5 25 29 — 0.9 0.5 5 — Bal —
*These alloys also contain small amounts of C, Mn, S, P, S, B, and Zr.

ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005 37


superalloys.qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 2

at elevated temperatures above 1000°F (540°C), wt%, is a critical alloying addition to nearly all su-
the characteristics of high strength and excellent peralloys. As in stainless steels, chromium forms
Superalloys environmental resistance have made some super- a tightly adherent, protective oxide film (Cr2O3)
are classified alloys an ideal choice for lower-temperature ap- on the surface to resist oxidation and corrosion
plications. Examples are prosthetic devices and at high temperatures, as well as corrosion at lower
into three components for deep sour-gas wells in oil/gas temperatures. This surface layer protects the alloy
main exploration. from the harmful effects of the elements oxygen,
groups, nitrogen, and sulfur.
Chemical composition Although most superalloys contain at least 14%
according Table 1 shows the nominal compositions of the chromium, in some applications it is critical to min-
to whether most common wrought age-hardenable super- imize thermal expansion. Pyromet CTX-909 and
alloys. These alloys contain various combinations Thermo-Span alloys are considered low-expan-
they are of nickel, iron, cobalt, and chromium, with lesser sion superalloys that have low chromium contents
based on amounts of other elements such as molybdenum, to minimize expansion of the nickel-cobalt-iron
nickel, niobium, titanium, and aluminum. With minor base. However, these lower amounts of chromium
amounts of beneficial elements such as boron and mean that resistance to oxidation and hot corro-
iron, or zirconium, these alloys may contain up to 12 in- sion is reduced; therefore, high-temperature coat-
cobalt. tentional additions that help to impart and main- ings are often applied prior to service. Of the two
tain critical properties at elevated temperatures. alloys, 909 alloy provides the lowest expansion co-
Many other elements such as silicon, phos- efficient, while Thermo-Span alloy (5.5%
phorus, sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, and a larger chromium) provides improved environmental re-
number of tramp elements (such as lead, bismuth, sistance.
selenium) must be tightly controlled in super-
alloys to avoid detrimental effects on high-tem- Other elemental additions
perature properties. These minor and tramp ele- Refractory elements such as molybdenum, tung-
ments are controlled during raw material selec- sten, and niobium, with their large atomic diam-
tion prior to melting, as well as during the eters, raise high-temperature strength and stiff-
melting/remelting processes. ness by straining the nickel-iron base matrix. Alloys
Superalloys are classified into three main groups, 901 and 41 contain larger additions of molyb-
according to whether they are based on nickel, iron, denum to increase this solid solution strengthening
or cobalt. effect. Other alloying additions such as chromium
• Nickel-base superalloys (>50% Ni) are the and aluminum also contribute to solid solution
most common group. About half of the alloys in strengthening, but to a lesser extent.
Table 1 are considered nickel-base alloys, and the The elements titanium, aluminum, and niobium
others contain large additions of nickel. The nickel are added to the nickel or nickel-iron matrix to
base has a high tolerance for alloy additions that form an intermetallic phase Ni3(Al, Ti, Nb) during
might otherwise cause phase instability leading age-hardening heat treatments. The resultant
to loss of strength, ductility, and/or environmental gamma prime or gamma double-prime phases are
resistance. the primary strengthening agents in superalloys.
• Iron-base superalloys are less costly, but are This will be discussed in more detail in the next
also less tolerant of alloying additions and typi- section on age-hardening.
cally have lower mechanical properties and lower Although elements such as boron, zirconium,
maximum temperatures. Examples are Pyromet and magnesium may be added at levels less than
alloy A-286 and NCF 3015(Ni-30) alloy. These con- 0.1 wt%, the beneficial effects can be very potent.
tain an austenitic stainless steel base with addi- These elements segregate to and stabilize grain
tions of nickel, titanium, and aluminum to pro- boundaries, which significantly improves hot
mote age hardening. Pyromet alloys 706 and 901 workability, high-temperature strength, and duc-
have similar amounts of nickel and iron, and can tility. Small additions of carbon also may be added
be considered nickel-iron base superalloys. The to form carbides that restrict grain growth and
higher nickel levels of 901 and 706 alloys allow for grain boundary sliding during high-temperature
larger additions of strengthening elements without operation.
deleterious effects.
• Cobalt-base superalloys are fewer in number Age hardening
than nickel- and iron-base superalloys. They are The major strengthening mechanism in super-
significantly higher in cost and typically cannot alloys is age hardening. Yield strength of nickel al-
be age-hardened to high strength levels. However, loys is typically increased by a factor of two or three
cobalt is an important alloying addition to nickel- by precipitation of the gamma prime and/or
base alloys because it extends the maximum gamma double-prime, Ni3(Al, Ti, Nb) hardening
service temperature by reducing the solubility of phase. Although the phase is based on the nickel
the age-hardening phase. Waspaloy and Pyromet aluminide (Ni3Al) intermetallic, up to 60% of the
alloys 41 and 720 are nickel-base alloys with 10 aluminum can be replaced by titanium or niobium,
to 15% cobalt. These alloys have the highest tem- which actually increases strength of the alloy.
perature capability of the common wrought age- The gamma prime phase is rather unique in that
hardenable superalloys. its strength actually increases with temperature
• Chromium, usually in the range of 14 to 23 up to 1200°F (650°C), and it is relatively ductile
38 ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005
superalloys.qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 3

Table 2 — Heat treatment and yield strength at various temperatures for selected alloys
Approximate
temperature 75°F 1200°F 1300°F 1400°F 1500°F 1600°F
Alloy limit, °F (°C) (24°C) (650°C) (705°C) (760°C) (815°C) (870°C) Heat treatment
0.2% offset yield strength, ksi (MPa)
Pyromet X-750 B 1400 93 82 77 65 45 — B-2100/2h/AC+1550
(760 ) (640) (565) (530) (450) (310) /24h/AC+1300 /20h/AC
Pyromet X-750 A 1100 126 110 103 — — — A-1625 /2h/AC+1300
(595 ) (870) (760) (710) /20h/AC
Pyromet 80A 1500 99 88 85 79 63 41 1975/8h/AC+1300
(815 ) (680) (605) (585) (545) (435) (285) /16h/AC
Pyromet A-286 1300 100 88 82 62 33 — 1800/1h/OQ+1325
(705 ) (690) (605) (565) (425) (230) /16h/AC
NCF 3015 (Ni-30) 1400 100 98 94 82 59 — 1922/0.5h/AC+1382
(760 ) (690) (675) (650) (465) (405) /4h/AC
Pyromet 31V 1500 109 103 100 97 88 2 2050/1h/AC+1575
(815 ) (750) (710) (690) (670) (605) /4h/AC+1350/4h/AC
Pyromet 751 1500 115 110 105 100 88 — 2050/1h/AC+1575
(815) (795) (760) (725) (685) (605) /4h/AC+1350/4h/AC
Waspaloy B 1600 115 102 100 96 87 75 B-1975/4h/OQ+1550
(870 ) (795) (705) (690) (660) (600) (515) /4h/AC+1400 /16h/AC
Waspaloy A 1600 132 115 114 109 96 76 A-1850 /4h/OQ+1550
(870 ) (910) (795) (785) (750) (660) (525) /4h/AC+1400 /16h/AC
Pyromet 901 1400 130 115 111 98 75 — 2000/2h/WQ+1450
(760 ) (895) (795) (765) (675) (515) /2h/AC+1325 /24h/AC
Pyromet 706 1300 146 125 116 96 — — 1800/1h/AC+1550
(705 ) (1005) (860) (800) (660) /3h/AC+1325 /8h/FC to
1150 /8h/AC
Pyromet 41 1600 150 140 136 132 118 78 1950/4h/AC+1400
(870 ) (1035) (965) (940) (910) (815) (540) /16h/AC
Pyromet 718 1300 168 144 133 111 — — 1800/1h/AC+1325/8h/FC
(705 ) (1160) (995) (915) (765) to 1150 /8h/AC
Pyromet 720 1600 173 164 161 152 135 109 2035/2h/AC+1975/4h/
(870 ) (1195) (1130) (1110) (1050) (930) (750) OQ+1200 /24h/AC+1400
/8h/AC
Low-expansion superalloys (low chromium)
Pyromet CTX-909 1200 148 126 — — — — 1800 /1h/AC+1325
(650) (1020) (970) /8h/FC to 1150 /8h/AC
Thermo-Span 1250 130 120 98 — — — 2000 /1h/AC+132
(675 ) (895) (825) (675) 5 /8h/FC to 1150 /8h/AC

and resistant to oxidation. Gamma prime precip- and 3. The initial solution heat treatment typically
itates as very fine spheroidal or cuboidal particles dissolves all precipitated phases except for some
in the nickel-iron matrix during aging. primary carbide and nitride phases. The typical
Although most of the superalloys are age-hard- range for the wrought age-hardenable superalloys
ened by the titanium-rich gamma prime phase, a is 1650 to 2100°F (900 to 1150°C) for one to four
niobium-rich variant called gamma double-prime hours, followed by a rapid air cool or a quench
is the primary strengthening phase in some super- in water, polymer, or oil.
alloys such as Pyromet alloys 706 and 718. The nio- The selection of solution treatment time and tem-
bium-rich phase provides higher strength up to perature varies with the alloy and its phase solvus
1200°F (650°C), but is unstable above 1200°F temperatures, and also depends on the specific
(650°C). Thus, 706 and 718 alloys have a lower tem- properties that are most important for the intended
perature limit than the alloys strengthened with application. Alloys with higher hardener contents
the titanium-rich gamma prime phase. Because (Ti, Al, Nb) require higher temperatures to solu-
the gamma double-prime reaction is more slug- tion any hardener phase that may have precipi-
gish, these alloys also tend to have better hot work- tated during hot working or cooling.
ability and weldability. Best tensile and fatigue properties are typically
developed with lower solution temperatures that
Heat treatment result in a finer grain size. In contrast, better long-
Proper heat treatment is critical to achieving the term stress-rupture and creep properties are gen-
necessary level of properties in age-hardenable su- erally achieved with higher-temperature solution
peralloys. Typical heat treatments for these alloys treatments that result in coarser grain size and
are listed in the mechanical property Tables 2 lower tensile yield strength. For these reasons, it

ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005 39


superalloys.qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 4

Table 3 — Stress-rupture properties of wrought age-hardenable superalloys


Approximate
temperature 1200°F 1300°F 1400°F 1500°F 1600°F
Alloy limit, °F (°C) (650°C) (705°C) (760°C) (815°C) (870°C) Heat treatment
Stress for 1000-hour life, ksi (MPa)
Pyromet A-286 1300 46 29 15 — — 1800°F/1h/OQ+1325°F/16h/AC
(705) (315) (200) (105)
Pyromet 80A 1500 65 42 27 13 — 1975°F/8h/AC+1300°F/16h/AC
(815) (450) (290) (185) (85)
Pyromet 31V 1500 68 45 30 18 — 2050°F/1h/AC+1575°F/4h/
(815) (470) (310) (205) (125) AC+1350/4h/AC
Pyromet 751 1500 68 45 30 18 — 2050°F/1h/AC+1575°F/4h/
(815) (470) (310) (205) (125) AC+1350/4h/AC
Pyromet X-750 1400 67 43 27 15 — 2100°F/2h/AC+1550°F/24h/
(760) (460) (295) (185) (105) AC+1300°F/20h/AC
Pyromet 901 1400 74 52 30 14 — 2000°F/2h/WQ+1450°F/2h/
(760) (510) (360) (205) (95) AC+1325°F/24h/AC
Pyromet 706 1300 84 53 25 — — 1800°F/1h/AC+1550°F/3h/
(705) (580) (365) (170) AC+1325°F/8h/FC
to 1150°F/8h/AC
Pyromet 718 1300 89 56 28 — — 1800°F/1h/AC+1325°F/8h/FC to
(705) (615) (385) (195) 1150°F/8h/AC
Waspaloy 1600 89 64 42 26 16 1975°F/4h/OQ+1550°F/4h/
(870) (615) (440) (290) (180) (110) AC+1400°F/16h/AC
Pyromet 41 1600 101 77 49 29 17 1950°F/4h/AC+1400°F/16h/AC
(870) (695) (530) (340) (200) (115)
Pyromet 720 1600 110 93 67 45 31 2035°F/2h/AC+1975°F/
(870) (760) (640) (460) (310) (210) 4h/OQ+1200°F/24h/
AC+1400°F/8h/AC
NCF 3015 (Ni-30) 1400 64 42 25 — — 1922°F/0.5h/AC+1382°F/4h/AC
(760) (440) (290) (170)
Low-expansion superalloys (low chromium)
Pyromet CTX-909 1200 48 — — — — 1800°F/1h/AC+1325°F/8h/FC to
(650) (330) 1150°F/8h/AC
Thermo-Span 1250 63 — — — — 2000°F/1h/AC+1325°F/8h/FC to
(675) (435) 1150°F/8h/AC

is common to specify two or more preferred heat cipitating a finer dispersion of the gamma-prime
treatments for superalloys. phase. For some higher-strength applications, the
In some cases, another objective of the solution alloy is direct-aged after hot, warm, or cold
treatment is to form a more beneficial distribution working, without an intermediate solution treat-
of a second phase such as carbide in Pyromet 41 ment. The strain from working serves to further
alloy and delta phase (Ni3Nb) in Pyromet 718 alloy. enhance tensile and fatigue properties, although
After solution treatment, one or more aging with some sacrifice in creep-rupture properties.
treatments are applied to precipitate the hardening
phase and possibly other phases in the suitable Mechanical properties
amount and distribution. As with solution treat- For the design engineer or materials specifier, a
ment, the selection of aging temperatures depends review of terms defining applicable mechanical
on the alloy and the combination of properties properties may be helpful:
needed. • Tensile properties: The design of load-bearing
The aging range for age-hardenable superalloys structures is often based on yield strength, or in some
is 1150 to 1600°F (620 to 870°C). Aging times range cases, the ultimate tensile strength of the material.
from four hours to 24 hours. Double-aging treat- Yield strength is a measure of the maximum stress a
ments are quite common to maximize strength and material can withstand before it permanently de-
to develop the best combination of short-term ten- forms. Tensile strength is a measure of the maximum
sile and long-term creep-rupture properties. The stress a material can withstand before it fractures. El-
primary aging treatment precipitates a coarser dis- evated-temperature tensile properties are most ap-
tribution of the hardener phase, and may also im- plicable to short-term exposures at higher temper-
prove the type and distribution of carbides on grain atures. Creep and stress-rupture properties are more
boundaries. applicable for longer-term exposures.
The secondary age is typically about 200°F • Creep and rupture properties: Creep and rup-
(110°C) below the primary aging temperature, pre- ture strengths become important when the ma-
40 ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005
superalloys.qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 5

terial must withstand the combined effects of high


temperature and stress for long periods of time.
720 720
At elevated temperatures, metals stretch or “creep” 718
at stresses well below the yield strength. Super- 720
41 718
alloys are more resistant to creep than low-alloy 909 41 720
or stainless steels, but creep still develops at tem-

Tensile yield strength


706 41
718
peratures above about 1000°F (540°C). Creep prop- Waspaloy/901/ 909/706
41 720
Thermo-span Thermo-
erties are a measure of the alloy’s resistance to X-750 Span
stretching under a constant load. 751 Waspaloy/ 706
Waspaloy 41 720
Stress-rupture or creep-rupture properties are 31V 901 Waspaloy
751/X-750 901
a measure of resistance to fracture under a con-
Ni-30/ 31V 751
stant load (creep test taken to fracture). Both prop- 80A/A-286 Ni-30 31V 751 Waspaloy
X-750 Ni-30 901/31V
erties are expressed as stress or strength values
that will cause a given amount of creep (0.1% to 80A/A-286 80A Ni-30 41
A-286 31V/751
X-750 Waspaloy
1%) or rupture in a given amount of time (100 to X-750 80A
100,000 hours). 75 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600
Tables 2 and 3 list typical tensile (yield) and (24) (650) (705) (760) (815) (870)
Temperature, °F (°C)
stress-rupture strength properties of the age-hard-
enable superalloys at temperatures of 1200 to Fig. 1 — Age-hardenable superalloy Selectaloy diagram showing yield strength.
1600°F (650 to 870°C). Yield strengths at room tem-
perature are also listed in Table 2. It should be 720
noted that the data represents approximate nom- 41

inal strength values for specific heat treatments. Waspaloy/


718 720
Actual values can vary by up to 35% due to differ- 706
ences in composition, hot/cold working practices, 901
and heat treatment. 31V/751 41
X-750/80A
For example, superalloys such as Pyromet 718
Ni-30 Waspaloy
and Waspaloy may contain several different aim Thermo- 718 720
Stress-rupture strength

compositions within the broader industry ranges Span 706/901


to optimize properties for specific applications. 909 31V/751
80A/X-
41
720
A-286 Waspaloy
Higher levels of the age-hardening elements tita- 750/Ni-30
nium, aluminum, and niobium result in higher 31V/751 41
A-286 901
strength. Hot or cold working an alloy to provide 80A/Ni-30
Waspaloy 720
a finer grain size typically increases tensile yield
31V/751 41
strength, but decreases stress-rupture strength. 80A Waspaloy
As discussed previously, properties of all age-
1200 1300 1400 1500 1600
hardenable superalloys depend on heat treatment. (650) (705) (760) (815) (870)
Alloys such as Pyromet X-750 and Waspaloy have Temperature, °F (°C)
two or more preferred heat treatments (see Table Fig. 2 — Age-hardenable superalloy Selectaloy diagram showing stress-
2) depending on whether the application requires rupture strength.
better short-term tensile and fatigue properties or temperature increases from left to right. The alloys
long-term creep and stress-rupture properties. Ex- are shown multiple times on the diagrams because
amples of alternative heat treatments have been the alloys are useful over a range of temperatures.
shown for Waspaloy and X-750 alloys, but the The diagram can be used to estimate not only how
reader should refer to manufacturer datasheets for the strength of an alloy decreases with tempera-
a more complete listing of alternative heat treat- ture, but also how the strengths of different alloys
ments for the other superalloys. compare at different temperatures.
• Other properties: Although tensile and creep- It should be noted that the alloys were posi-
rupture are the most basic mechanical properties tioned on the Selectaloy diagrams based on average
considered for high-temperature applications, de- strength values that are representative of com-
sign criteria may also include resistance to fatigue positions and heat treatments typical for each alloy.
(low- and high-cycle), crack growth, and wear/ero- An alloy’s relative position could move up or
sion. Hardness and hot-hardness tests are some- down, left or right, with relatively minor modifi-
times used as a rough measure of yield strength cations of composition, processing, and heat treat-
and resistance to wear/erosion. ment. Temperature limits should be considered
approximate. Therefore, while the Selectaloy dia-
Alloy selection grams are useful tools to screen candidate alloys,
A simplified method known as the Carpenter they are not a substitute for a more detailed eval-
Selectaloy system can help designers and engi- uation of the critical properties required for an in-
neers select the most suitable superalloy based on tended application.
strength and maximum temperature requirements. Pyromet A-286 alloy is the most basic age-hard-
Figures 1 and 2 contain Selectaloy diagrams for enable superalloy in terms of properties and cost.
the 14 superalloys discussed in this article. Yield A-286 provides the lowest strength levels, but
strength (Fig. 1) or stress-rupture strength (Fig. 2) still higher by a factor of two than other non-age-
increases vertically on the Selectaloy diagram, and hardenable stainless alloys. When increased
ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005 41
superalloys.qxp 5/17/2005 12:46 PM Page 6

Thermo-Span

720

Waspaloy

41

909

80A

X-750

751

718

31V

901

706

Ni-30

A-286

0 1 2 3 4 5
Relative raw material cost, ten-year average
Fig. 3 — Relative raw material cost of age-hardenable superalloys.
strength or temperature resistance is required, higher Figure 3 compares the relative alloying costs
nickel alloys are typically preferred. Alloys with the of the 14 alloys, with Pyromet A-286 alloy as a base
Alloy highest levels of strength and temperature resist- (cost factor of 1.0). The cost factors are based on
ance typically contain the highest alloy contents and ten-year averages of the intrinsic alloying element
selection significant levels of cobalt. Relative cost of these costs at market prices. Higher-temperature
must be alloys will be discussed in the next section. strength and resistance typically require higher
based on The Selectaloy diagrams presented in this article nickel and cobalt contents. Nickel and cobalt prices
provide a method to compare basic strength prop- have historically been volatile, with high and low
expected erties and temperature limitations of common prices varying by a factor of four to five. More re-
cost wrought age-hardenable superalloys. However, cently, the price of molybdenum, a potent solid so-
effectiveness. alloy selection will undoubtedly depend on many lution strengthener, has increased in price by a
other considerations, including other physical and factor of nearly ten over the last two years.
mechanical properties, as well as environmental As discussed above, the cost factors in Fig. 3 are
resistance and cost. For example, Thermo-Span based only on raw material elemental costs (ten-
and Pyromet CTX-909 alloys provide a benefit of year averages) that fluctuate significantly with
much lower expansion during heating, but at the time. Differences in melting, working, and other
expense of oxidation and corrosion resistance in processing costs, which can be substantial, are not
the uncoated condition. included in these factors. Processing yields and
Pyromet 31V and 751 alloys provide similar specific end user requirements (grain size, ultra-
strength and temperature resistance, but the higher sonic testing, etc.) significantly impact product
chromium content of 31V alloy results in much im- cost. However, the cost comparisons are useful be-
proved resistance to sulfidation and other forms cause alloying costs typically represent a large por-
of hot corrosion. tion of superalloy product cost. Since superalloys
are designed for high-temperature strength and
Alloy cost resistance to deformation, processing difficulty
From the user’s standpoint, alloy selection must and cost also increase with hot strength and max-
be based on expected cost effectiveness. In today’s imum temperature capability. It is apparent that
competitive global environment, overdesign is less the alloys that provide higher levels of strength,
common than in the past. The trend is to select the temperature resistance, and/or specialized prop-
lowest-cost material to meet design requirements erties also cost more, which reinforces the impor-
for the application. However, a higher-cost alloy tance of the alloy selection process.
may be justified to minimize overall lifecycle cost,
or for longer service of certain components in a
system that is critical or too expensive to be shut For more information: Richard B. Frank is Staff Spe-
down for maintenance. Surely, knowledge of alloy cialist, High Temperature R&D, Carpenter Technology
capabilities is critical in making the best decision. Corporation, P.O. Box 14662, Reading, PA 19612-4662;
As temperature and strength requirements in- tel: 610/208-2696; fax: 610/736-7148; e-mail: rfrank@
crease, so does the necessary alloy content. cartech.com; Web site: www.cartech.com.

42 ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/JUNE 2005