Studies of wire-matrix interaction in some tungsten wire reinforced stainless steels
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
There is potential for improving creep properties of stainless steels by reinforcing them with tungsten (W) wires. Past studies have shown that a detrimental factor that impairs the mechanical properties of tungsten wire reinforced superalloy composites is the formation of brittle intermetallic phases due to the interaction between W wire and constituents of the alloy matrices. Formation and growth of the intermetallic phases strongly depends on the matrix chemistry and for the retention of creep strength, matrix compositions that do not form intermetallic phases with tungsten are desirable for fabricating W wire reinforced composites for high temperature applications. This research investigated the formation and growth of reaction phases in W wire reinforced 316L (W/316L) stainless steel and HP alloy steel (W/HP) that were fabricated by casting method. Additionally, the effect of composition on the evolution and kinetics of reaction phases was studied in some W wire reinforced experimental alloys based on Fe-Ni-Cr only (W/Fe-Ni-Cr). The fabricated composites were diffusion annealed in the temperature range 1000-1200°C for 25-500 hours. Microstructure and chemistry of the reaction phases in the as-cast and diffusion annealed composites were studied using scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy and electron backscattered diffraction techniques. Growth kinetics of the reaction layers and average effective interdiffusion coefficients in the layers were determined for the composites. Results showed that an intermetallic phase isostructural with µ-phase formed in the as-cast W/316L and W/Fe-Ni-Cr composites with 1 and 2 Fe:Ni matrix ratios. In W/HP a phase M12C with crystal structure similar to η-carbide was formed. These phases developed and formed brittle reaction layers around the W wires during diffusion annealing. A parabolic relationship between the µ-phase and η-carbide growth and diffusion annealing time indicated that the growth of reaction layers was diffusion controlled. In the W/Fe-Ni-Cr composites, formation of intermetallic phases did not occur in the matrices with 0.5Fe:Ni ratio, instead some isolated tungsten particles were observed in the matrix adjacent to the wires after diffusion annealing. In W/Fe-Ni-Cr composites with 1 and 2 Fe:Ni matrix ratio, the growth of µ-phase reaction layers during annealing was observed to be dependent on the matrix composition. It was found that with an increase in the Ni content in the matrix, growth of µ-phase reaction layer decreased. The study presented in this thesis gives first-hand information on phase formation and growth kinetics of the reaction layers in W/316L and W/HP composites. It revealed that the interaction of W with 316L and HP alloy matrices leads to formation of cracked intermetallic and carbide reaction layers which are not desirable in the composites designed for high temperature applications. It has also been shown in this study that in W/Fe-Ni-Cr composites, intermetallic phase formation can be suppressed by increasing Ni content in the matrix. In the composite with high Ni contents in the matrix (0.5Fe:Ni ratio) intermetallic phases do not form even after diffusion annealing at 1200°C. This intermetallic free W/Fe-Ni-Cr composite can further be studied for its creep strength.