Superalloy

Superalloy image

Nickel superalloy jet engine (RB199) turbine blade

A superalloy, or high-performance alloy, is an alloy with the ability to operate at a high fraction of its melting point. Several key characteristics of a superalloy are excellent mechanical strength, resistance to thermal creep deformation, good surface stability, and resistance to corrosion or oxidation.

The crystal structure is typically face-centered cubic (FCC) austenitic. Examples of such alloys are Hastelloy, Inconel, Waspaloy, Rene alloys, Incoloy, MP98T, TMS alloys, and CMSX single crystal alloys.

Superalloy development has relied heavily on both chemical and process innovations. Superalloys develop high temperature strength through solid solution strengthening and precipitation strengthening from secondary phase precipitates such as gamma prime and carbides. Oxidation or corrosion resistance is provided by elements such as aluminium and chromium. Superalloys are often cast as a single crystal—while grain boundaries may provide strength at low temperatures, they decrease creep resistance.

The primary application for such alloys is in aerospace and marine turbine engines. Creep is typically the lifetime-limiting factor in gas turbine blades.

Superalloys are the materials which have made much of very-high-temperature engineering technology possible.

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