Diffusion bonding of TiAl using Ni/Al multilayers


With the stimulus of temperature and pressure Ni and Al can quickly react and produce the intermetallic compound NiAl. This reaction is highly exothermic and high temperatures can be attained in the surroundings. These characteristics make Ni/Al multilayers very attractive to technological applications as localised heat sources. In this study, Ni/Al multilayer thin films are used to promote bonding between TiAl intermetallic alloys. Ni and Al alternated nanolayers were deposited by d.c. magnetron sputtering onto TiAl samples, with periods of 5, 14 and 30 nm. Joining experiments were performed at 900 °C for 60 or 30 min, in a vertical furnace with a vacuum level better than 10−2 Pa. Applied pressures of 5 MPa were tested. The microstructure of the cross-sections of the bond interface was analysed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and characterised by scanning electron microscopy. The observation of the microstructure for 14 and 30 nm period multilayers revealed sound bonding, while for 5 nm period porosity and cracks within the interlayer thin film were observed. The interface is divided into three distinct zones: one with columnar grains, another with very small equiaxed grains and the third with larger equiaxed grains. The joining process appears to depend on the diffusion of Ni and Ti across the interface and is assisted by the nucleation of nanometric grains at the interface. The mechanical strength of the joints was evaluated by shear tests. The bonds produced at 900 °C/5 MPa/60 min/14 nm exhibited the highest shear strength of 314 MPa.
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