Autonomous filling of creep cavities in Fe-Au alloys studied by synchrotron X-ray nano-tomography

H. Fang*, C. D. Versteylen, S. Zhang, Y. Yang, P. Cloetens, D. Ngan-Tillard, E. Brück, S. van der Zwaag, N. H. van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The autonomous filling of creep-loading induced grain-boundary cavities by gold-rich precipitates at a temperature of 550 °C has been studied as a function of the applied load for Fe-Au alloys using synchrotron X-ray nano-tomography. The alloy serves as a model alloy for future self-healing creep resistant steels. The size, shape and spatial distribution of cavities and precipitates are analyzed quantitatively in 3D at a nanometer resolution scale. The filling ratios for individual cavities are determined and thus a map of the filling ratio evolution is obtained. It is found that the gold-rich precipitates only form at cavity surfaces and thereby repair the creep cavity. The shape of the cavities changes from equiaxed to planar crack like morphologies as the cavities grow. The time evolution of the filling ratio is explained by a simple model considering isolated cavities as well as linked cavities. The model predictions are in good agreement with the measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-364
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Creep
  • Fe alloys
  • Self healing
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • X-ray tomography


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