Characterization and Investigation of Grain Selection in Spiral Grain Selectors during Casting Single-Crystal Turbine Blades

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Mechanical and Material, Lenjan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

2 Advanced Materials Research Center, Faculty of Materials Engineering, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad Branch, IAUN, P.O. Box 517, Isfahan, Iran


Manufactured single crystal components using Ni-base super alloys are routinely used in the hot sections of aero engines and industrial gas turbines due to their outstanding high temperature strength, toughness and resistance to degradation in corrosive and oxidative environments. To control the quality of the single crystal turbine blades, particular attention has been paid to grain selection, which is used to obtain the single crystal morphology from a plethora of columnar grains. For this purpose, different designs of grain selectors are employed and the most common type is the spiral grain selector. A typical spiral grain selector includes a starter block and a spiral (helix) located above. It has been found that the grains with orientation well aligned to the thermal gradient survive in the starter block by competitive grain growth while the selection of the single crystal grain occurs in the spiral part. In the present study, 2Dspiral selectors with different geometries were designed and produced using a state-of-the-art Bridgeman Directional Solidification casting furnace to investigate the competitive growth during grain selection in 2d grain selectors. The principal advantage of using a 2-Dselector is to facilitate the wax injection process in investment casting by enabling significant degree of automation. The directional solidification process for obtaining single crystal component for Nickel Super alloys based on the competitive growth in 2D and 3D single crystal grain selector was experimentally investigated for various geometries. Transverse sections of the grain selectors using optical and EBSD microscopy techniques were observed to understand the competitive grain growth process.