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Acta Metall Sin  2019, Vol. 55 Issue (9): 1077-1094    DOI: 10.11900/0412.1961.2019.00122
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Recent Progress in Research and Development of Nickel-Based Single Crystal Superalloys
ZHANG Jian(),WANG Li,WANG Dong,XIE Guang,LU Yuzhang,SHEN Jian,LOU Langhong
Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
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Single crystal superalloy is the key material used in the hot section of aeroengines and industry gas turbines. The research, development and application of these alloys is generally a mirror of the industry base of a country. The recent progress in research and development of single crystal superalloys is briefly reviewed in the present paper. Some new ideas in alloy development and the design methods are summarized. The deformation behaviors, damage and failure mechanisms of single crystal superalloys during creep, fatigue, oxidation and hot corrosion have been overviewed. The role of typical defects such as low angle grain boundary, recrystallization and micro-porosity is also discussed. The recent progress in the directional solidification processes and typical parameters of high rate solidification, gas cooling casting, liquid metal cooling and fluidized bed cooling are introduced. Fundamental correlations of processing parameters to defect formation and microstructure evolution during manufacture of single crystal blade is discussed. Additionally, the future opportunities and challenges are also explored.

Key words:  single crystal superalloy      alloy design      mechanical property      directional solidification      defect     
Received:  22 April 2019     
ZTFLH:  TG132.3  
Fund: Supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China(No.2017YFB0702904);National Natural Science Foundation of China(Nos.91860201、51631008、51871210、51771204、U1732131和51671196);National Science and Technology Major Projects(Nos.2017-VII-0008-0101、2017-VI-0001-0070和2017-VI-0003-0073)
Corresponding Authors:  Jian ZHANG     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

ZHANG Jian,WANG Li,WANG Dong,XIE Guang,LU Yuzhang,SHEN Jian,LOU Langhong. Recent Progress in Research and Development of Nickel-Based Single Crystal Superalloys. Acta Metall Sin, 2019, 55(9): 1077-1094.

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Fig.1  Creep rupture properties of Co-based alloys and the 1st generation Ni-based single crystal (SX) superalloys (T—temperature, K; t—time, h; P—Larson-Miller parameter)
Design method


Key concept




Computer regression processing based on a large number of experimentsThe relationship between alloy strength and elements was not established based on strengthening mechanism



Introduce some limiting parameters and filtering through big data computingThe element distribution and interface strengthening were not considered



Based on multi-standard optimization and semi-empirical modelThe precipitation?strengthening and interface strengthening were not considered in detail
Table 1  Design methods of single crystal superalloys
AlloysTest conditionCreep mechanisms at intermediate temperatureRef.


1st generation SX alloy

750~850 ℃/450~750 MPa;

760 ℃/600, 700, 850 MPa

Different a/2<110> dislocations react at the interfaces of γ/γ'

a/2[011]+a/2[011]+a/2[1ˉ01]+a/2[1ˉ01]→a/3[112]+a/3[1ˉ12]+a/6[1ˉ12]+a/6[1ˉ12]a/3[1ˉ12] and a/6[1ˉ12] partial dislocations cut into γ' and leave a combination of SISF, SESF and APB


AM1, MC-NG, MC534, CMSX-10M, Rene N6

760 ℃/

840 MPa

a/2<110> dislocation cuts into γ' and results in a APB



1st generation SX alloy

760 ℃/600, 780 MPa

760 ℃/600, 700, 850 MPa

a/2<110> dislocations dissociate at the interface:


a/3<112> partial dislocations cut into γ' and leave a SISF or SESF a/6<112> partial dislocation would be left at the γ/γ' interfaces


Table 2  Creep mechanisms at intermediate temperature[33,34,36,37,38]
Fig.2  Creep rupture life of different single crystal superalloys
Fig.3  Rafted γ' (a) and dislocation networks (b) in a third generation single crystal superalloy DD33 creep ruptured at 1100 ℃ and 150 MPa[47]
Fig.4  Typical defects observed in single crystal blade including low angle grain boundary (LAGB) (a), sliver (b), spurious grains (c), freckle (d), shrinkage (e) and recrystallization (RX) (f)
AlloyTest conditionCreep life / hTest conditionCreep life / h

950 ℃, 210 MPa


950 ℃, 290 MPa


760 ℃, 414 MPa


982 ℃, 207 MPa

Table 3  Effect of minor elements on creep rupture life of bicrystals
Fig.5  RX layer formed at high temperature (a) and cellular RX formed at temperature below the solution temperature (b)
Fig.6  Effect of recrystallization on high temperature creep properties of DS and SX alloys
Fig.7  Micro-porosities in as cast (a) and as hot isostatically pressed (HIPed) (b) DD33 superalloy




Physical potential of the cooling effectiveness[112]

Estimate of cooling effectiveness in an industry process [112]

PDAS for large cored blades*μm

High rate

solidification (HRS)

Easy operation, technical maturity

Shadow effect, temperature gradient decreased with casting size increasing




Gas cooling

casting (GCC)

High temperature gradient with little influence by casting size

shadow effect, complex operation




Liquid metal

cooling (LMC-Sn)

High temperature gradient with little influence by casting size

Casting contamination, complex operation




Liquid metal

cooling (LMC-Al)

Relatively high temperature gradient with little influence by casting size

Casting contamination, complex operation




Fluidized bed

cooling (FBC)

High temperature gradient with little influence by casting sizeAlloy and equipment contamination, complex operation--


Table 4  Comparison of several directional solidification processes
Fig.8  Typical configuration (a) and microstructures (b) of a spiral grain selector (hs—length of screw pitch, ds—diameter of spiral, θ—initial angle of spiral, dw—diameter of helicoid)
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