The effect of S segregation to grain boundaries on the intergranular embrittlement of Ni has been studied at room temperature using Auger electron spectroscopy and slow strain rate tensile tests. The grain-boundary S concentration was varied by time-controlled annealing of dilute Ni-S alloy specimens at 625°C. The ductile-to-brittle transition in Ni, as determined from percent integranular fracture and reduction-in-area measurements, occurred over a narrow range of S concentrations centered on 15.5±3.4 at. % S. This critical S concentration for 50% intergranular fracture of polycrystalline Ni is similar to the 14.2±3.3 at. % S required to induce 50% amorphization of single-crystal Ni by S+-ion implantation. This suggests that segregation-induced intergranular fracture, like implantation-induced amorphization, may be a disorder-induced polymorphous melting process. In agreement with experimental observations, the polymorphous melting curve for the Ni-S solid solution on the phase diagram drops rapidly to zero as the alloy composition approaches ∼ 18 at. % S. The critical grain-boundary concentration for intergranular fracture, while slightly less, is within experimental error of the concentration predicted for polymorphous melting as well as that measured for ion-implantation-induced amorphization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)