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Rolls-Royce UTC

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Our research on alloys containing intermetallic compounds seeks to develop new alloys for high temperature applications.

Chromium alloys containing intermetallic Laves phase have been explored as a candidate for high temperature service. Cr–Cr2Ta dual phase alloys, developed within the UTC, have demonstrated noteworthy strengths at elevated temperatures alongside good oxidation resistance. Work is also exploring the mechanical properties of Laves phases themselves and understanding how their atomic bonding effects their plasticity.  Below is a micrograph from a Cr-Ta-Si alloy.


Refractory metal based alloys, capable of operating at higher temperatures than  nickel-base superalloys, are being sought. Research in the UTC is exploring unusual ternary systems containing a refractory metal to produce alloys with a refractory metal matrix reinforced by an intermetallic phase. Experimental investigations into these systems are generating new and exciting structures.

Gamma titanium aluminides are structural intermetallics with a singular combination of low densities (3.9 - 4.2 g/cm3) and excellent mechanical properties at temperatures up to 750 °C.  This makes them ideal candidates for replacing nickel-base superalloys in low pressure turbine (LPT) blades. Consequently, an understanding of the relationship between their complex microstructures (see below) and their high-temperature deformation and fracture behaviour is of great interest. Our current work aims to isolate the effect of microstructural parameters, such as the colony size and lamellae spacing, on the deformation and fracture mechanisms.