Computationally Optimized Heat Treatment Process wins R&D 100 Award

November 18, 2016
Source: ASM International

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Pittsburgh, announces that its Computationally Optimized Homogenization Heat Treatment Process has been named a winner of the 2016  R&D 100 Awards. NETL's technology provides an easy method to optimize heat treatment to achieve the required degree of homogenization with a minimum of furnace time.

Conventional processes for homogenizing metal alloys are trial-and-error in their approach, resulting in increased process cost and limits to the possible paths that may be explored. The primary application for this technology is for alloys that are exposed to extreme environments, including heat-resistant alloys or those needing corrosion/oxidation resistance. A properly homogenized alloy will not only function better, but also will have an extended life cycle.

During solidification of any alloy, the elements segregate unevenly. This chemical segregation is unavoidable and results in non-uniform regions that negatively impact mechanical and physical properties. Even distribution of the alloying elements is necessary to achieve optimal performance for the specified application.

The computational approach to homogenization is based on kinetics of the chemical diffusion coefficient of each element to determine the homogenization cycle necessary to evenly distribute the elements that are susceptible to segregation. Conventional homogenization processes rely on a trial-and-error approach that results in the need for more experimentation and analysis. If the selected times and temperatures do not achieve the correct degree of homogenization, additional experimentation become necessary.

 The Computationally Optimized Homogenization Heat Treatment Process is designed especially for alloys exposed to extreme environments, including heat-resistant alloys and those that require corrosion/oxidation resistance. Such alloys are typically in industries that service the aerospace, military, petrochemical, power generation, nuclear, structural, automotive. and instrumentation sectors.


Subject Classifications

Industries and Applications | Aerospace and Defense

Industries and Applications | Automobiles and Ground Transportation

Industries and Applications | Fossil Fuel Power

Materials Processing and Treatment | Heat Treating

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