Stress relaxation through ageing heat treatment - a comparison between in situ and ex situ neutron diffraction techniques

James Rolph, Alex Evans, Ania Paradowska, Michael Hofmann, Mark Hardy, Michael Preuss

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The effect of ageing heat treatment on the relaxation of residual stress in a water quenched polycrystalline nickel-base superalloy has been measured using neutron diffraction. Two separate experiments have been conducted; the first experiment was an ex situ study in which samples were individually processed with varying degrees of age time before measurement. The second experiment was an in situ heat treatment, which required heating and then holding the sample at ageing temperature while measuring strain using neutron diffraction. The in situ experiment was carried out twice using the same setup to assess the repeatability of the technique and found to be repeatable within experimental error. The agreement between in situ and ex situ experiments was found to be reasonable, particularly the manner in which the stresses relaxed with time. In both studies it was found that initial stress relaxation was rapid, approximately 200 MPa in 15-30 min, after this a slower linear relaxation remained for the rest of the ageing heat treatment. This behaviour suggests creep may be the means by which stress relaxation takes place in this material during ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalComptes Rendus Physique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing heat treatment
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Nickel-base superalloy

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