Creep strengths and ductilities of boron-doped nickel aluminides are significantly improved by small additions of hafnium. Since creep failure in these alloys proceeds by growth and coalescence of grain boundary cavities, effects of Hf additions on the compositions of grain boundaries and creep cavity surfaces were examined using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). In order to facilitate intergranular fracture in the AES analysis chamber, gage sections from creep specimens were hydrogen charged and copper plated.
Grain boundaries in crept specimens were not flat, and the grains did not exhibit a normal polyhedral appearance. The overall levels of boron detected on the fracture surfaces of the creep specimens were significantly higher than those from uncrept specimens. Additionally, boron was found to segregate more strongly to the grain boundaries while higher concentrations of residual sulfur and phosphorus were detected on the cavity surfaces in both alloys. These results are discussed in terms of the effects of impurity segregation on high temperature grain boundary cavitation.