J. Phys. IV France 112 (2003) 873
Scale up of NiTi shape memory alloy production by EBMJ. Otubo2, O.D. Rigo2, C. Moura Neto3, M.J. Kaufman4 and P.R. Mei2
2 State University of Campinas, DEMAIFEM, 13083-970 Campinas, Brazil
3 ITA/CTA, 12228-900 S.J. Campinas, Brazil
4 University of Florida, Materials Science and Engineering, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.
The usual process to produce NiTi shape memory alloy is by vacuum induction melting (VIM) using a graphite crucible, which causes contamination of the melt with carbon. Contamination with oxygen originates from the residual oxygen inside the melting chamber. An alternative process to produce NiTi alloys is by electron beam melting (EBM) using a water-cooled copper crucible that eliminates carbon contamination, and the oxygen contamination would be minimal due to operation in a vacuum of better than 10-2 Pa. In a previous work, it was demonstrated that the technique is feasible for button shaped samples weighing around 30g. The present work presents the results on the scale up program that enables the production of larger samples/ingots. The results are very promising in terms of chemical composition homogeneity as well as in terms of carbon contamination, the latter being four to ten times lower than the commercially-produced VIM products, and in terms of final oxygen content which is shown to depend primarily on the starting raw materials.
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