Hot tearing in polycrystalline Ni-based IN738LC superalloy: Influence of Zr content
Zirconium is always present in Ni base superalloys as it enhances their creep properties. In the present study, the influence of very small Zr additions, 100–400 ppm, i.e. 0.01–0.04 wt.%, on hot tearing of IN738LCsuperalloy is experimentally investigated using dedicated turbine blade castings. Although the Zr content remains very small, it has a strong effect on hot tearing tendency. Microstructure of hot tear in as-cast samples reveal that grain size and secondary dendrite arm spacing have no significant effect on hot tearing. On the other hand eutectic phase volume fraction and its dispersion or spreading along grain boundaries drastically affect the hot tearing propensity and strongly increase with increasing amounts of Zr. Hence grain coalescence becomes impossible at grain boundaries covered with eutectic phase films.With increasing Zr content, gain coalescence between two distinct grains with no interdendritic phase requires more undercooling. Coalescence is retarded and occurs deeper in the mush zone, i.e. at lower temperatures resulting in a higher sensitivity to hot tearing. Finally, it is shown that a reduction of Zr content to 0.02 wt.% is required to fully suppress hot tearing in polycrystalline IN738LC blades.