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Comparison of Optical and SEM-BEI Inclusion Analyses of VIM-VAR Nickel-Titanium Alloy

Frank Sczerzenie, Graeme W. Paul, Clarence Belden, and Audrey Fasching

(Submitted May 11, 2010; in revised form July 28, 2010)

The ASTM Standard for NiTi alloys does not specify the method to be used for the analysis of inclusions. Quantitative analysis is generally done by optical metallography with a computer program to measure size and area fraction. This study gives a comparison of quantitative analyses of inclusions by scanning electron microscopy using backscattered electron imaging (SEM-BEI) and quantitative analyses by optical metal- lography. Seven samples of 6.3-mm hot-rolled NiTi were evaluated. The coil samples were selected to exhibit a wide range of inclusion content. Each sample had a different Ni to Ti ratio corresponding to a different transformation temperature range (TTR) from As = 225 °C (Ni = 50.79 a/o) to As = +95 °C (Ni = 49.63 a/o). Quantitative analyses by optical and by SEM-BEI are in reasonable good agreement for maximum particle size and maximum area fraction. Both methods of analysis show that carbide and intermetallic oxide inclusion populations in VIM-VAR hot-rolled coil vary significantly in the amount and size of inclusions with the alloy transformation temperature. Therefore, an analysis of a larger number of samples at each TTR is needed to develop statistically precise data. All carbide inclusions were less than 12.5 lm and less than 1.0% area fraction in all the samples. Maximum size and area fraction of carbides decreased as TTR increased. Intermetallic oxide size and area fraction increased with increasing TTR Intermetallic oxides are fractured and separated from the matrix during hot working. However, stringering is very limited. The fracturing appears to happen in high TTR alloys but not in low TTR alloys. This dependence on TTR suggests that chemistry in or around the oxides affects their fracture behavior. Download the Full Article here.


Optical versus SEM-BEI Inclusion Analyses JMEP July 2011.pdf465.18 KB