Formation of the Nanocrystalline Structure in an Equiatomic NiTi Shape-Memory Alloy by Thermomechanical Processing
The microstructural evolution during cold rolling followed by annealing of an equiatomic NiTi shape-memory alloy was investigated. The high purity Ni50Ti50 alloy was cast by a copper boat vacuum induction-melting technique. The as-cast ingots were then homogenized, hot rolled, and annealed to prepare the suitable initial microstructure. Thereafter, annealed specimens were cold rolled up to 70 % thickness reduction at room temperature. Post-deformation annealing was conducted at 400 °C for 1 h. The microstructure was characterized using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and differential scanning calorimetry techniques. The initial microstructure was free from segregation and Ti- or Ni-rich precipitates and was composed of coarse grains with an average size of 50 μm. The cold rolling of NiTi alloy resulted in a partial amorphization and the deformation-induced grain refinement. A nanocrystalline structure with the grain size of about 20-70 nm was formed during the post-deformation annealing.