On the origin of creep dislocations in a Ni-base, single-crystal superalloy

This project deals with the origin of creep dislocations in a Ni-base, single crystal superalloy subject to creep at an intermediate stress and temperature.

Employing high angular resolution electron backscatter diffraction (HR-EBSD), electron channeling contrast imaging under controlled diffraction conditions (cECCI) and discrete dislocation dynamics (DDD) modelling, it is shown that low-angle boundaries - which correspond to dendrite boundaries or their residues after annealing- are not the major sources of creep dislocations. At the onset of creep deformation, they are the only active sources. Creep dislocations are emitted from them and percolate into the dislocation-depleted crystal. However, the percolation is very slow. As creep deformation proceeds, before the boundary-originated dislocations move further than a few micrometers away from their source boundary, individual dislocations that are spread throughout the undeformed microstructure become active and emit avalanches of creep dislocations in boundary-free regions, i.e. regions farther than a few micrometer away from boundaries. Upon their activation, the density of creep dislocations in boundary-free regions soars by two orders of magnitude; and the entire microstructure becomes deluged with creep dislocations. The total area of boundary-free regions is several times the total area of regions covered by boundary-originated creep dislocations. Therefore, the main sources of creep dislocations are not low-angle boundaries but individual, isolated dislocations in boundary-free regions.

cECCI micrographs of the dislocation structure
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