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Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Fe-Cr-Al Alloys and the Study of the Role of Nanocrystalline Structure and Al Content on Their High Temperature Oxidation Behavior

thesis
posted on 21.05.2018, 05:04 authored by Rajiv Kumar
High-temperature oxidation behavior of any materials depends on the stability of the protective oxide formed on the surface of the materials. The chromium oxide, Cr2O3, formed on Fe-Cr alloys is unstable above 850 °C, whereas the alumina, Al2O3, scale formed on Fe-Al alloys is stable up to 1350 °C. Consequently, Fe-Cr alloys are not suitable for high-temperature applications, especially above 850 °C. In contrast, Fe-Al alloys containing a sufficient amount of Al exhibit an excellent oxidation resistance at high temperatures due to the formation of a continuous and robust layer of Al2O3. However, the high amount of Al required for the formation of a robust layer of Al2O3 on Fe-Al alloys makes the alloys brittle and restricts their structural application. The required critical content of Al for the formation of a protective layer of Al2O3 on Fe-Al alloys can be reduced by the addition of the “third element” like Cr, which improves the ductility of the alloy. In addition, the required critical Al content can further be reduced by decreasing the alloy grain size to the nano-regime. Based on the available literature, it can be hypothesized that the nanocrystalline (NC) structure can enhance the protective oxide formation, and further reduce the required critical content of Al for the formation of a continuous layer of Al2O3 on Fe-Cr-Al alloys. Although the oxidation behavior of Fe-Cr-Al alloys has been studied by several researchers, the studies are limited to the microcrystalline structure of the alloys. The effect of NC structure on the oxidation behavior of Fe-Cr-Al alloys has yet not been reported. Therefore, the present work primarily focuses on the study the oxidation resistance of NC Fe-Cr-Al alloys vis-à-vis the oxidation behavior of their microcrystalline (MC) counterparts.

The NC Fe-Cr-Al alloys powders (of compositions Fe-20Cr-5Al, Fe-20Cr-3Al Fe-10Cr-5Al and Fe-10Cr-3Al) were synthesized using high-energy ball milling followed by a rapid consolidation using spark plasma sintering at 900 °C with the application of a pressure of 90 MPa. Out of these four alloys, Fe-20Cr-5Al and Fe-20Cr-3Al alloys were selected to study the effect of the NC structure on their high-temperature oxidation behavior. The oxidation behavior of the NC Fe-20Cr-(3,5)Al alloys at temperatures range (500-900 °C) in 60 h of oxidation was compared with that of their MC counterparts. The oxide scales formed on the NC and MC alloys were analyzed for morphology, chemical composition, and thickness of oxide using different characterization techniques. The post-oxidation characterization shows a remarkable effect of NC structure on the oxidation behavior of the Fe-20Cr-(3,5)Al alloys. The NC Fe-20Cr-(3,5)Al alloys exhibit superior oxidation resistance at high temperatures than that of their MC counterparts due to the formation of a continuous protective layer on the NC alloy. Contrary to the oxidation behavior of common steels at high temperatures, the Fe-20Cr-(3,5)Al alloys show better oxidation resistance at high temperatures (800 and 900 °C) than that at relatively low oxidation temperatures (500 and 700 °C) due to the formation of a considerably more protective oxide layer at high temperatures (800 and 900 °C). Further, the NC structure also influences the “third element effect” of Cr. Consequently, the protective oxide formed on NC Fe-20Cr-5Al alloy with the assistance of the “third element effect” of Cr at 500 and 700 °C, whereas the oxide formed on the NC Fe-20Cr-5Al alloy without the assistance of the “third element effect” of Cr at 800 and 900 °C. On the other hand, the oxide formed on MC Fe-20Cr-(3,5)Al alloys without the assistance of the “third element effect” of Cr at all oxidation temperatures (500-900 °C). Based on the post-oxidation characterization and available literature, the mechanisms for the formation of oxide scale on the Fe-Cr-Al alloys are proposed. The thesis provides the evidence to validate the hypothesis that NC structure can extensively enhance the formation of protective oxide on the Fe-Cr-Al alloys at high temperatures. In addition, the thesis also presents that the NC structure influences the role of the “third element effect” of Cr for the formation of protective oxide on the Fe-Cr-Al alloys at high temperatures. Thus, the present research work has provided a comprehensive overview of the oxidation behavior of NC and MC Fe-Cr-Al alloys at high temperatures.

History

Campus location

Australia

Principal supervisor

R. K. Singh Raman

Additional supervisor 1

Smrutiranjan Parida

Additional supervisor 2

V.S. Raja

Year of Award

2017

Department, School or Centre

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Course

Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type

DOCTORATE

Faculty

Faculty of Engineering