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Misorientation-dependent solute enrichment at interfaces and its contribution to defect formation mechanisms during laser additive manufacturing of superalloys

: Hariharan, Avinash; Lu, Lin; Risse, Jeroen; Kostka, Aleksander; Gault, Baptiste; Jägle, Eric Aimé; Raabe, Dierk


Physical review materials 3 (2019), Nr.12, Art. 123602, 17 S.
ISSN: 2475-9953
Fraunhofer ILT ()
additive manufacturing; superalloy; selective laser melting (SLM)

A vital issue during selective laser melting of nonweldable polycrystalline nickel-base superalloys is the formation of microcracks. These are cracks occurring during the last stage of solidification and only at high angle grain boundaries (HAGBs). Solute enrichment to the remaining interdendritic liquid and its partial back-diffusion into the solid contributes to the crack nucleation mechanism. Here we use atom probe tomography coupled with transmission Kikuchi diffraction to determine the misorientation and chemical composition profiles across HAGBs (with and without cracks) and across crack-free low angle grain boundaries (LAGBs). The Gibbsian interfacial excess of solutes (mainly B, C, Si, and Zr) is at least two times higher at the HAGB compared to the LAGB. The chemical profiles show the opposite behavior to established model predictions of the last stage of solidification. Our diffusion calculations elucidate that the chemical profiles are influenced by both microsegregation (of Ti, Nb, and Si) during solidification and solid-state segregation (of B, C, and Zr) during cooling. The chemical profiles in the topmost layer indicate a negligible effect of remelting and reheating. Except for Ti-rich carbides, no secondary phases are found. Additionally, we study an alloy with a reduced content of Zr and Si (by at least 60 wt. %), relative to the standard IN738LC composition. We achieved a 99% reduction in crack length per unit area. However, the grain boundary enrichment of Zr and Si in the modified alloy was similar to the standard alloy. Based on these findings, we critically discuss the contribution of various mechanisms proposed for solidification cracking.