Microstructural Evolution of Post-Processed Hastelloy X Alloy Fabricated by Laser Powder Bed Fusion

Materials (Basel). 2019 Feb 5;12(3):486. doi: 10.3390/ma12030486.


Hastelloy X (HX) is a Ni-based superalloy which is employed to produce gas turbine and gas-cooled reactor sectors due to its outstanding oxidation resistance and high tensile strength at high temperatures. This alloy can be processed by laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) fabricating complex geometries in a single step. However, post-processing thermal treatments must be applied to generate a suitable microstructure for high-temperature applications. The investigation reports the microstructure evolution of LPBF HX samples under specific post-processing treatments. A hot isostatic pressing (HIP) treatment can close the internal cracks and reduce the residual porosity (less than 0.1%). Moreover, the HIP-triggered recrystallization generated equiaxed grains, while the slow cooling rate generated a film of intergranular carbides (Mo-rich M₆C and Cr-rich M23C₆) and intragranular carbides (Mo-rich M₆C carbides). Therefore, a solution annealing was performed to dissolve the film of carbides which may reduce the ductility. The post solution annealed material consisted of equiaxed grains with ASTM grain size number mainly 4.5-5.5 and inter/intragranular Mo-rich M₆C carbides. The microstructure is highly comparable with solution annealed wrought HX alloy. Finally, after simulating short thermal exposure at 745 °C for 6 h, a significant formation of Cr-rich M23C₆ carbides was observed strengthening the LPBF HX alloy.

Keywords: Ni-based superalloys; additive manufacturing; hot isostatic pressing; laser powder bed fusion; microstructure characterization.