Polycrystalline Superalloy Membranes Produced by Load-Free Coarsening of Incoherent γ'-Precipitates: Microstructure Evolution and Mechanical Properties
Nanoporous superalloy membranes are a functional extension of the use of nickel-based alloys. The material, which is usually used for high-temperature applications, consists mainly of the two phases γ and γ'. Through coarsening of the precipitates and thus forming of a bicontinuous γ/γ' network, membranes can be produced by removing either of these phases. From the single-crystalline alloy CMSX-4, the bicontinuous network can be formed either thermo-mechanically by directional coarsening of coherent precipitates or by load-free coalescence of incoherent precipitates. Recent investigations have shown that membranes also can be produced from polycrystalline starting material in both ways. In this article, the process route for membranes by load-free coarsening of incoherent γ' precipitates from a carbon-free version of the polycrystalline alloy Nimonic 115 is presented. This manufacturing method has the advantage of its simplicity and in comparison to single-crystalline membranes it can be realized in larger scales. We discuss the microstructure and show the mechanical properties by means of tensile tests. Despite the grain boundaries as a mechanical weak link, polycrystalline membranes show promising mechanical properties. Their strength even exceeds that of the single-crystalline membranes despite the significantly higher pore volume content.