Phase Transformation Behavior of Hot Isostatically Pressed NiTi-X (X = Ag, Nb, W) Alloys for Functional Engineering Applications
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Owing to their unique properties, NiTi-based shape memory alloys (SMAs) are highly attractive candidates for a lot of functional engineering applications like biomedical implants (stents), actuators, or coupling elements. Adding a third element is an effective measure to adjust or stabilize the phase transformation behavior to a certain extent. In this context, addition of alloying elements, which are low soluble or almost insoluble in the NiTi matrix is a promising approach and—with the exception of adding Nb—has rarely been reported in the literature so far, especially if the manufacturing of the net-shaped parts of these alloys is aspired. In the case of addition of elemental Nb, broadening of hysteresis between austenitic and martensitic phase transformation temperatures after plastic deformation of the Nb phase is a well-known effect, which is the key of function of coupling elements already established on the market. In the present study, we replaced Nb with additions of elemental Ag and W, both of which are almost insoluble in the NiTi matrix. Compared with Nb, Ag is characterized by higher ductility in combination with lower melting point, enabling liquid phase sintering already at moderate temperatures. Vice versa, addition of W might act in opposite manner considering its inherent brittleness combined with high melting temperature. In the present study, hot isostatic pressing was used for manufacturing such alloys starting from prealloyed NiTi powder and with the additions of Nb, Ag, and W as elemental powders. Microstructures, interdiffusion phenomena, phase transformation behaviors, and impurity contents were investigated aiming to better understand the influence of insoluble phases on bulk properties of NiTi SMAs.