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CuCrZr alloy produced by Laser Powder Bed Fusion: microstructure, nanoscale strengthening mechanisms, electrical and mechanical properties

Abstract : CuCrZr is a precipitation hardening alloy, used for its good electrical and thermal properties combined to high mechanical properties. Using additive manufacturing technologies, and more specifically the laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) process, allows designing highly complex parts such as compact and efficient CuCrZr heat exchangers. Additional understanding of the specific CuCrZr metallurgy during this manufacturing process is still needed to fully take advantages of these possibilities. This work aimed (i) to clarify the impact of the L-PBF process and post-fabrication heat treatments on the microstructure of L-PBF CuCrZr alloy, (ii) to determine the corresponding mechanical and electrical properties and (iii) to quantify the contributions of the different nano-scale strengthening mechanisms (nano-precipitation, dislocations, solid solution, grain size refinement) depending on the different heat treatments. The microstructures of the CuCrZr samples are carefully analyzed at different scales thanks to scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy, highlighting the effect of the different heat treatments. In all heat-treated samples, Cr nano-precipitates are uniformly dispersed in the Cu matrix; few Zr nano-precipitates are observed either at grain boundaries, next to Cr nano-precipitates, or inside the Cu matrix. Moreover, the mean grain size, dislocation density, mean radius and volume fraction of the Chromium nano-precipitates are measured. These data are introduced in the identified hardening mechanisms to estimate the yield strengths (YS) of the different analyzed CuCrZr microstructures. The results are compared to the experimental values, including those of a reference wrought heat-treated CuCrZr, and discussed. A good correlation is found between calculated and experimental values. For the first time, the main hardening mechanisms of L-PBF CuCrZr are quantified and the interest of the L-PBF+Direct Age Hardening (DAH) process route to get a high amount of Cr nano-precipitates is confirmed. The DAH applied to L-PBF materials provides high mechanical properties (184 HV1 hardness, YS=527 MPa, UTS=585MPa) while keeping a good elongation (14%) and electrical conductivity (42 MS.m-1). These results are due to a combination between (i) a high Cr nano-precipitates density, leading to a high precipitation hardening, and (ii) a high dislocation density associated to the presence of remaining solidification cells.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 11:15:26 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 14, 2022 - 4:01:39 AM


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Claudia Salvan, Laurent Briottet, Thierry Baffie, Laure Guetaz, Camille Flament. CuCrZr alloy produced by Laser Powder Bed Fusion: microstructure, nanoscale strengthening mechanisms, electrical and mechanical properties. Materials Science and Engineering: A, 2021, 826, ⟨10.1016/j.msea.2021.141915⟩. ⟨cea-03813244⟩



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