Coupled growth during three phase equilibrium solidification is well known from directionally solidified eutectic systems, and was recently generated in monotectic systems. Several theories predict a stationary peritectic reaction and coupled growth of the properitectic and the peritectic phases therefore should be possible. In spite of these theories coupled growth has not been observed up to now. The TiAl system was selected for further investigation on this topic because of its technical relevance and the fact that it meets the condition mentioned for coupled growth.
In a Bridgman laboratory furnace, TiAl with 53.4 at.% Al was directionally solidified with solidification rates v between 0.025 mm/min and 0.1 mm/min and a temperature gradient up to 20 K/mm. The resulting microstructures, analyzed using optical and scanning microscopy with EDX and WDX, consist of two phases parallel to the growth direction. At v = 0.05 to 0.1 mm/min, the alloy solidifies as properitectical α, which subsequently eutectoidally transforms to a substructure of α2-Ti3Al and γ-TiAl, and peritectic γ. The lamellar α2/γ-substructure is oriented parallel to the growth direction.
The experimental results were compared with the existing theoretical models of a stationary peritectic reaction and the possibility of metastable eutectic growth was discussed.