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


  • 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. © 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 92

publication date

  • September 2013