Influence of zirconium additions on nitinol shape memory phase stability, transformation temperatures, and thermo-mechanical properties

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This research focuses on exploring the influence of Zr additions in Ni-rich Nitinol alloys on the phase stability, transformation temperatures, and thermo-mechanical behavior using various microanalysis techniques. The dissertation is divided into three major bodies of work: (1) The microstructural and thermo-mechanical characterization of a 50.3Ni-32.2Ti-17.5Zr (at.%) Zr alloy; (2) The characterization and mechanical behavior of 50.3Ni-48.7Ti-1Zr and 50.3Ni-48.7Ti-1Hf alloys to determine how dilute additions alter the phases, transformation temperatures, and thermo-mechanical properties; and (3) The microstructural evolution and transformation behavior comparison of microstructure and transformation temperature for 50.3Ni-(49.7-X)Ti-XZr alloys, where X is 1,7, or 17.5% Zr aged at either 400°C and 550°C. The major findings of this work include the following: (1) In the dilute limit of 1% Zr, at 400°C aging, a spherical precipitate, denoted as the S-phase, was observed. This is the first report of this phase. Further aging resulted in the secondary precipitation event of the H-phase. Increasing the aging temperature to 550°C, resulted in no evident precipitation of the S- and H-phase precipitates suggestive this temperature is above the solvus boundary for these compositions. (2) For the 7% and 17.5% Zr alloys, aging at 400°C and 550°C resulted in the precipitation of the H-phase. For the lower temperature anneal, this phase required annealing up to 300 hours of aging to be observed for the 17.5% Zr alloy. Upon increasing the aging temperature, the H-phase precipitation was present in both alloys. The transformation behavior and thermo-mechanical properties are linked to the precipitation behavior.

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Materials science