TEM study of structural and microstructural characteristics of a precipitate phase in Ni-rich Ni-Ti-Hf and Ni-Ti-Zr shape memory alloys

R. Santamarta, R. Arróyave, J. Pons, A. Evirgen, I. Karaman, H. E. Karaca, R. D. Noebe

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171 Scopus citations


The precipitates formed after suitable thermal treatments in seven Ni-rich Ni-Ti-Hf and Ni-Ti-Zr high-temperature shape memory alloys have been investigated by conventional and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. In both ternary systems, the precipitate coarsening kinetics become faster as the Ni and ternary element contents (Hf or Zr) of the bulk alloy are increased, in agreement with the precipitate composition measured by energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis. The precipitate structure has been found to be the same in both Hf- and Zr-containing ternary alloys, and determined to be a superstructure of the B2 austenite phase, which arises from a recombination of the Hf/Zr and Ti atoms in their sublattice. Two different structural models for the precipitate phase were optimized using density functional theory methods. These calculations indicate that the energetics of the structure are not very sensitive to the atomic configuration of the Ti-Hf/Zr planes, thus significant configurational disorder due to entropic effects can be envisaged at high temperatures. The precipitates are fully coherent with the austenite B2 matrix; however, upon martensitic transformation, they lose some coherency with the B19′ matrix as a result of the transformation shear process in the surrounding matrix. The strain accommodation around the particles is much easier in the Ni-Ti-Zr-containing alloys than in the Ni-Ti-Hf system, which correlates well with the lower transformation strain and stiffness predicted for the Ni-Ti-Zr alloys. The B19′ martensite twinning modes observed in the studied Ni-rich ternary alloys are not changed by the new precipitated phase, being equivalent to those previously reported in Ni-poor ternary alloys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6191-6206
Number of pages16
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number16
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial financial support from Spanish MINECO and FEDER under Project Number MAT2011-28217-C02-01 is acknowledged. The work was also supported by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research , under Grant No. FA9550-12-1-0218 and NASA EPSCOR program under Grant No. NNX11AQ31A . Additional support was received by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DMR 08-44082 , which supports the International Materials Institute for Multi-functional Materials for Energy Conversion (IIMEC) at Texas A&M University. R.D.N. gratefully acknowledges support from the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program, Aeronautical Sciences Project. R.A. also acknowledges the support from the Grant NSF-CMMI - 0953984 . First-principles calculations were carried out in the Chemical Engineering cluster of Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Supercomputing facility, and the Ranger and Lonestar clusters at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in the University of Texas at Austin.


  • DFT calculations
  • High-temperature shape memory alloys
  • Martensitic transformation
  • NiTiZr
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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