Processing of Advanced Cast Alloys for A-USC Steam Turbine Applications
The high-temperature components within conventional supercritical coal-fired power plants are manufactured from ferritic/martensitic steels. To reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the efficiency of pulverized coal steam power plants must be increased to as high a temperature and pressure as feasible. The proposed steam temperature in the DOE/NETL Advanced Ultra Supercritical power plant is high enough (760°C) that ferritic/martensitic steels will not work for the majority of high-temperature components in the turbine or for pipes and tubes in the boiler due to temperature limitations of this class of materials. Thus, Ni-based superalloys are being considered for many of these components. Off-the-shelf forged nickel alloys have shown good promise at these temperatures, but further improvements can be made through experimentation within the nominal chemistry range as well as through thermomechanical processing and subsequent heat treatment. However, cast nickel-based superalloys, which possess high strength, creep resistance, and weldability, are typically not available, particularly those with good ductility and toughness that are weldable in thick sections. To address those issues related to thick casting for turbine casings, for example, cast analogs of selected wrought nickel-based superalloys such as alloy 263, Haynes 282, and Nimonic 105 have been produced. Alloy design criteria, melt processing experiences, and heat treatment are discussed with respect to the as-processed and heat-treated microstructures and selected mechanical properties. The discussion concludes with the prospects for full-scale development of a thick section casting for a steam turbine valve chest or rotor casing.