Materials, Vol. 12, Pages 935: Application of Inner Radiation Baffles in the Bridgman Process for Flattening the Temperature Profile and Controlling the Columnar Grain Structure of Directionally Solidified Ni-Based Superalloys (Materials)
The technique of flattening the temperature profile and controlling the formation of both the dendritic microstructure and grain structure in the directional solidification of nickel-based superalloy casting, using the novel inner radiation baffles (IRBs) in the Bridgman process, is presented in this paper. These baffles matched to the shape of mold and were placed horizontally along its height at various distances from the casting base. The plate castings of CMSX-4 superalloy were fabricated without and with the use of IRBs, withdrawing the mold at the rate of 6 mm/min from the heating to the cooling area of the industrial Bridgman furnace. Thermal analysis of the directional solidification of castings was carried out using the ProCAST software for a process where the various designs of the radiation baffle were applied. The results of the solidification conditions, the shape of liquidus and solidus isotherms, and grain structure obtained for the IRBs were compared with those reached for the standard ring-shaped (AERB) or perfectly adjusted (PARB) radiation baffles. The use of IRB resulted in flattening of the temperature distribution and decrease of the curvature of liquidus and solidus isotherms, as well as an increase of temperature gradient and cooling rate, compared with the process where AERB was only used. Consequently, primary dendrite arm spacing (PDAS) reached similar values across the width of casting and equaled to approximately 370 μm, reducing its average value by 26%, compared with the standard process. The change in predicted axial temperature gradient in casting was not found when thermophysical properties of molybdenum IRBs were used. The increase in graphite IRBs number in mold from seven to 14 caused the reduction of inhomogeneity of axial temperature gradient along the casting height.