This paper provides a comprehensive review of current efforts on design of ductile polycrystalline Ni3 AI alloys. Microalloying has proven to be very effective in alleviating the grain-boundary emibrittlement problem. The ductility and fabricability of Ni3 Al (24 at. % Al) are dramatically improved by adding a few hundred parts per million of boron. The beneficial effect of boron is related to its unusual segregation behavior as predicted from the theory of grain-boundary cohesion developed by Rice, based on thermodynamic analyses. Alloy stoichiometry strongly influences grain-boundary chemistry, which, in turn, affects the boundary cohesion and overall ductility of Ni3 Al.
The solid-solution hardening of Ni3 AI depends on the substitutional behavior of alloying elements, atomic size misfit, and the degree of nonstoichiometry of the alloy. Hafnium additions are very effective in improving high-temperature properties of ternary Ni3Al (Al + Hf = 24 at. %) doped with boron. Alloying with <2% Hf substantially increases the yield stress and raises the peak-strength temperature. In addition, hafnium substantially improves creep properties and oxidation resistance. The Ni3 Al aluminides truly represent a new series of heat resistant materials which do not depend on chromium for oxidation resistance.