Effect of mass evaporation on measurement of liquid density of Ni-based super alloys using ground and space levitation techniques
J. Nawer, X. Xiao, M.P. SanSoucie and D.M. Matson
Loss of mass due to evaporation during molten metal levitation processing significantly influences the evaluation of density, viscosity and surface tension during thermophysical property measurement. Since there is no direct way to track the evaporation rate during the process, this paper describes a mathematical approach to track mass loss and quantify any changes in alloy composition as a function of time and temperature. The Ni-based super alloy CMSX-4 Plus (SLS) was investigated and a model was developed to predict the dynamic loss of mass with time and track the potential for composition shifts throughout each thermal cycle based on the Langmuir’s equation for ideal solution behavior. Results were verified by post-test chemical analysis of key elemental constituents including Al, Cr, Ti, and Co where the error in composition for each element was less than 1% when the activity of aluminum in solution was fixed at zero – effectively eliminating evaporation of aluminum for ground-based electrostatic levitation (ESL) testing in vacuum. This model predicts the mass evaporation for Al and Co within ±6 % errors for CMSX-4 plus samples processed in ESL. Application of this technique to the space tests using the ESA ISS-EML facility shows that by conducting experiments in an inert shielding-gas environment, composition shifts due to differential relative evaporation become negligible and the composition is maintained within the desired limits. By tracking overall mass loss during testing the influence of evaporation on density measurements is discussed.
Keywords: Superalloy, mass evaporation, density, CMSX-10, CMSX-4 Plus (SLS), electrostatic levitation, electromagnetic levitation