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Microstructure, martensitic transformation and shape memory effect in Ni3Ta – novel high temperature SMA

Barbora Bartova 1Dominique Schryvers 1Jan Van Humbeeck 2Georgiy S. Firstov 3Yuri Koval 3

1. EMAT, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, Antwerp B-2020, Belgium
2. K. U. Leuven, Department of Materials Science and Engineering (KUL, MTM), Kasteelpark Arenberg 44, Leuven 3001, Belgium
3. G. V. Kurdyumov Institute for Metal Physics of the National Academy of Sciences (IMP), Vernadsky Blvd. 36, Kiev UA03680, Ukraine


The Ni3Ta intermetallic compound is quite known as a strengthening component for high temperature structural eutectic or directionally solidified materials (superalloys, composites etc.) [1]. The alloy of Ni3Ta stoichiometry was arc-melted from electrolytic Ni and Ta of the highest purity in a pre-gettered argon atmosphere, re-melted 6 times and zone-melted for purification. Zone-melted specimens were homogenised by heat treatment in vacuum at 1673 K for 4 hours. Thin foils for TEM were prepared by Ar+ ion milling. The bright field image presented in Fig.1 shows variants of martensite present in the specimen. The variants have different widths and can be found throughout the complete sample. By comparing simulated and experimental diffraction patterns, the monoclinic structure (a=0.45319 nm, b=0.51253 nm, c=0.8632 nm, β=100.79°) as proposed by Zhao et al. [2] has been confirmed. Furthermore, an (001) twinning plane was determined from the diffraction pattern (Fig.2) taken along the [210] zone axis orientation.

It was found that Ni3Ta undergoes a martensitic transformation (MT) from high (tetragonal) to low (monoclinic) phase with a 50 K temperature hysteresis at elevated temperatures: Ms=530 K, Mf=500 K, As=550 K, Af=580 K (Fig.3). Thermal cycling over the temperature interval of the MT does not affect the MT temperatures except for a slight shift of the reverse transformation temperatures during the first cycle. The volume change during forward MT deduced from the austenite and martensite lattice parameters is -0.45%. The shape recovery after 10% compression at room temperature is almost complete although it takes place in a wide temperature interval – about 300 K. This alloy might open new perspectives for the application of high temperature shape memory alloys (HTSMA).


[1] Mollard F. et al., 1974, Zeitschrift Für Metallkunde 65, 461-466

[2] Zhao J-T. et al., 1991, Acta Cryst. CA7, 479-483




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Presentation: Poster at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007, Symposium E, by Barbora Bartova
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007

Submitted: 2007-05-11 20:38
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44