Properties and Production Technology of Nickel-based Superalloys
Oil futures tumbled more than $5 a barrel on news that the Biden administration is considering releasing about 1 million barrels a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) for several months to cool surging crude prices.
Brent crude futures were down $4.71, or 4.2 percent, at $108.58 a barrel by 0035 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell $5.45, or 5 percent, to $102.74 a barrel.
At an earlier time, gasoline prices had already reached record levels because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The prices of other commodities like the Inconel718 powder are also expected to be volatile.
Nickel-based superalloys are the most widely used. The main reason is that,
one is that more alloying elements can be dissolved in the nickel-based alloy,
and it can maintain good structural stability; the other is that it can form a
coherent and ordered A3B-type intermetallic compound γ[Ni3(Al, Ti)] As a
strengthening phase, the alloy can be effectively strengthened and obtain higher
high temperature strength than iron-based superalloys and cobalt-based
superalloys; thirdly, nickel-based alloys containing chromium have better
oxidation and resistance than iron-based superalloys.
Nickel-based alloys contain more than ten elements, of which Cr mainly plays
an anti-oxidation and anti-corrosion role, and other elements mainly play a
strengthening role. According to their strengthening action mode, they can be
divided into: solid solution strengthening elements such as tungsten,
molybdenum, cobalt, chromium and vanadium; precipitation strengthening elements
such as aluminum, titanium, niobium and tantalum; grain boundary strengthening
elements such as boron, zirconium, Magnesium and rare earth elements, etc.
In terms of smelting: in order to obtain more pure molten steel, reduce gas
content and harmful element content; at the same time, due to the presence of
easily oxidizable elements such as Al and Ti in some alloys, it is difficult to
control non-vacuum smelting; it is also to obtain better thermoplasticity ,
Nickel-based heat-resistant alloys are usually smelted in a vacuum induction
furnace, and even produced by vacuum induction smelting plus vacuum consumable
furnace or electroslag furnace remelting.
In terms of deformation: forging and rolling processes are used. For alloys
with poor thermoplasticity, they are even rolled after extrusion and billeting
or are directly extruded with mild steel (or stainless steel) sheathing. The
purpose of deformation is to break the casting structure and optimize the
Casting: usually use a vacuum induction furnace to smelt the master alloy to
ensure the composition and control the gas and impurity content, and use the
vacuum remelting-precision casting method to make parts.
Heat treatment: Wrought alloy and some cast alloys need to be heat treated,
including solution treatment, intermediate treatment and aging treatment. Take
Udmet 500 alloy as an example. Its heat treatment system is divided into four
stages: solution treatment, 1175℃, 2 hours, Air cooling; intermediate treatment,
1080°C, 4 hours, air cooling; primary aging treatment, 843°C, 24 hours, air
cooling; secondary aging treatment, 760°C, 16 hours, air cooling. In order to
obtain the required organizational state and good overall performance.
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Due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the covid-19 pandemic, how will the international situation develop is highly uncertain. It is too difficult to assess its economic impact properly. However, we could see energy prices and commodity prices keep rising and supply chains are disrupted. Therefore, Inconel718 powder prices are expected to rise in the future.