Growth and Coalescence of γ’-Precipitates in Nickel-Based Alloy 115NC during Slow Cooling for Membrane Manufacturing
By coarsening of the γ’-precipitates and selective extraction of one of the two existing phases, porous structures can be produced from nickel-based superalloys. There are two basic approaches to achieve a bicontinuous γ/γ’-microstructure—directional and incoherent coarsening. Single crystalline superalloy membranes are produced by the so-called rafting of the microstructure, i.e., directional coarsening. Unlike this process, incoherently coarsened membranes lack a detailed understanding of the mechanisms leading to cross-linking of the precipitates. In this paper, the growth and coalescence of precipitates during initial slow cooling from above the γ’ solvus temperature was studied. In addition to the three-dimensional morphological changes of the precipitates, it is also shown that only little coalescence of the particles occurs despite the high γ’ content and, therefore, their very small distance. The loss of coherency that occurs during this part of coarsening must first advance through further aging before a bicontinuous microstructure is formed.