Évolution microstructurale et propriétés mécaniques d'un alliage Co-Ni-Cr

This study concerns the evolution of the thermomechanical properties of new high-performance materials. In particular, we focus on the relationship between the microstructure and the mechanical properties of a superalloy based on Co-Ni-Cr. Superalloys are metallic alloys with superior characteristics to conventional alloys, especially in extreme conditions, and find application in all that areas requiring materials with high elastic modulus, yield strength and resistance. The investigated alloy is used with satisfaction since several years, but the origin of its outstanding mechanical properties is still poorly understood, as well as the role of small alloying elements additions on mechanical properties. To understand the influence, on the mechanical properties, of the elements added to the base composition, the study is carried out simultaneously on two variants of the material, differing for the presence of a small amount of beryllium in one them. The variant containing beryllium exhibits superior mechanical properties with respect to the base variant. The microstructural evolution and mechanical properties was monitored by using several complementary techniques. Series of heat treatments were performed on samples from the two variants, and both TEP and hardness were systematically measured. This has allowed us to establish the different stages of microstructural changes with the temperature. The TEP is a parameter very sensitive to the change in matrix's composition. It indicates that exposure of this material to a temperature between 500°C and 600°C produces a precipitation stage (A), involving titanium. Such a precipitation is responsible for a remarkable hardening, as well as an increase in the elastic limit. Mechanical spectroscopy allows us to obtain information about the mobility of structural defects which dissipate energy when undergone to a periodic stress. By developing a phenomenological model based on the ADIF curves, we can affirm that the hardening comes from the pinning of dislocations by A precipitates. A second precipitation stage (B) occurs only on the variant containing beryllium, undergone a complex sequence of heat treatments up to 700°C. The analysis of samples by TEM and APT provided essential support to the interpretation of results, and to characterization of the precipitation B. Precipitates B are nanostructured intermetallic compounds NiBe, analogous to GP zones. Their growth is favored by the segregation of titanium at the precipitate-matrix interface to relieve the coherency strains. The hardening provided by B precipitates, together with the structural hardening due to the cold working and the precipitation hardening due to the heating at 550°C, allows to obtain the maximum hardness values. The peaks on the internal friction spectra, also provide informations about the influence of beryllium on the mobility of grain boundaries. This parameter determines the recrystallization and the relaxation mechanism at high temperature, which can be observed by mechanical spectroscopy. Finally, the work here presented yields an important contribution to the understanding of the performance's origin of a Co-Ni-Cr superalloy. It also points the way for other studies aiming the optimization of production processes, in terms of temperature and time of annealing, to obtain the desired properties. This thesis allowed to discover a new hardening phase (B) previously unknown, which could lead to even higher hardness values.

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