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Properties and Production Technology of Nickel-based Superalloys

The roble had hit a record low after the West imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. Russia's president recently ordered exports of Russian gas to "unfriendly" countries to be settled in robles. The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said Moscow was prepared and could shift supplies to markets such as Asia if Europe refused to buy Russian energy.

European countries, which pay mostly in euros, say Russia has no right to reset contracts.  The G7 rejected Russia's demand and urged companies not to agree to pay in robles, saying most contracts stipulated payment in euros or dollars. Wholesale gas prices in Europe have risen further recently on concerns about potential supply disruptions.

The Kremlin spokesman said, "According to the March 31 deadline set by Russia's president, we are developing all payment methods to get a simple, understandable, and feasible system for relevant European and international buyers,"

The markets and prices of more commodities like the Inconel718 powder would be affected because of the volatile international political situations.

Nickel-based superalloys are the most widely used. The main reason is that, one is that more alloying elements can be dissolved in the nickel-based alloy, and it can maintain good structural stability; the other is that it can form a coherent and ordered A3B-type intermetallic compound γ[Ni3(Al, Ti)] As a strengthening phase, the alloy can be effectively strengthened and obtain higher high temperature strength than iron-based superalloys and cobalt-based superalloys; thirdly, nickel-based alloys containing chromium have better oxidation and resistance than iron-based superalloys. 

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Nickel-based alloys contain more than ten elements, of which Cr mainly plays an anti-oxidation and anti-corrosion role, and other elements mainly play a strengthening role. According to their strengthening action mode, they can be divided into: solid solution strengthening elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, chromium and vanadium; precipitation strengthening elements such as aluminum, titanium, niobium and tantalum; grain boundary strengthening elements such as boron, zirconium, Magnesium and rare earth elements, etc.


Production Process

In terms of smelting: in order to obtain more pure molten steel, reduce gas content and harmful element content; at the same time, due to the presence of easily oxidizable elements such as Al and Ti in some alloys, it is difficult to control non-vacuum smelting; it is also to obtain better thermoplasticity , Nickel-based heat-resistant alloys are usually smelted in a vacuum induction furnace, and even produced by vacuum induction smelting plus vacuum consumable furnace or electroslag furnace remelting.


In terms of deformation: forging and rolling processes are used. For alloys with poor thermoplasticity, they are even rolled after extrusion and billeting or are directly extruded with mild steel (or stainless steel) sheathing. The purpose of deformation is to break the casting structure and optimize the microstructure.


Casting: usually use a vacuum induction furnace to smelt the master alloy to ensure the composition and control the gas and impurity content, and use the vacuum remelting-precision casting method to make parts.


Heat treatment: Wrought alloy and some cast alloys need to be heat treated, including solution treatment, intermediate treatment and aging treatment. Take Udmet 500 alloy as an example. Its heat treatment system is divided into four stages: solution treatment, 1175℃, 2 hours, Air cooling; intermediate treatment, 1080°C, 4 hours, air cooling; primary aging treatment, 843°C, 24 hours, air cooling; secondary aging treatment, 760°C, 16 hours, air cooling. In order to obtain the required organizational state and good overall performance.


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U.S. oil prices surged about 10% to $105.14 a barrel. This is the highest level since 2014. The world benchmark Brent stock futures oil price soared by about 8% to $105.40 per barrel. The most direct rise in crude oil is inflation. The rise in oil prices means that people's food, clothing, housing, production costs, and living costs will rise. The direct impact is the price of goods. Rising purchasing power declines, and the currency depreciates.
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