Surface protection of titanium and titanium-aluminum alloys against environmental degradation at elevated temperatures

R.A. Yankov, A. Kolitsch, J. von Borany, A. Mücklich, F. Munnik, A. Donchev, M. Schütze

Surface and Coatings Technology 206 (2012), 3595-3600

Experiments have been undertaken to explore the possibility of creating an oxygen barrier coating, which is effective in preventing oxidation and oxygen embrittlement of Ti and several low-Al content Ti-base alloys during exposure to oxidizing environments at elevated temperatures. The fabrication process has involved three steps, namely co-deposition of Ti and Al by magnetron sputtering onto a substrate material to be protected, followed by vacuum annealing and plasma immersion ion implantation of fluorine. The first two steps produce an overlay of γ-TiAl while the last step provides the necessary conditions for bringing about the halogen effect upon subsequent high-temperature oxidation. Analysis techniques such as cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (XTEM) in conjunction with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and elastic recoil detection (ERD) have been used to study the microstructure, phase formation and depth distribution of the elements in the coating material. Following oxidation in air at 600 °C for 100 h, specimens have been prepared for metallographic analysis, and their cross sections have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with EDX, and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA). The results obtained show that during oxidation exposure the coating is capable of forming a protective alumina-containing scale which serves as an oxygen barrier, thereby preventing oxygen embrittlement. In addition, since the only constituents of the coating are Ti and Al, it exhibits excellent chemical substrate compatibility.

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