MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUES FOR TITANIUM ALUMINIDE BASED ALLOYS AND METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES
Kothari, Kunal B
Wereley, Norman M
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Dual phase titanium aluminides composed vastly of gamma phase (TiAl) with moderate amounts of alpha2 phase (Ti3Al) have been considered for several high temperature aerospace and automobile applications. High specific strength coupled with exceptional high temperature performance in the areas of creep and oxidation resistance makes titanium aluminides "materials of choice" for next generation propulsion systems. Titanium aluminides are primarily being considered as potential replacements for Ni-based superalloys in gas turbine engine components with the aim of developing more efficient and leaner engines with high thrust-to-weight ratio. As titanium aluminides lack room temperature ductility, traditional manufacturing techniques such as casting, forging and rolling are more expensive to perform. To overcome this, research over the past decade has examined powder metallurgy techniques such as hot-isostatic pressing, sintering and hot-pressing to produce titanium aluminides parts. Enhancements in these powder metallurgy techniques has produced near-net shape parts of titanium aluminides possessing a homogeneous and refined microstructure and thereby exhibiting better mechanical performance. This study presents a novel powder metallurgy approach to consolidate titanium aluminide powders. Traditional powder consolidation processes require exposure to high temperatures over a lengthy duration. This exposure leads to grain growth in the consolidated part which adversely affects its mechanical properties. A rapid consolidation process called Plasma Pressure Compaction (P2C) has been introduced and utilized to consolidate titanium aluminide powders to produce titanium aluminide parts with minimal grain growth. The research also explores the role of small alloying additions of Nb and Cr to enhance ductility of the consolidated parts. The grain size of the consolidated parts is further reduced in the sub-micrometer range by milling the as-received powders. Finally, a metal matrix composite with TiAl matrix reinforced with TiB was developed by first blending the matrix and the reinforcement powders and then consolidating the powder blend.