In-Service Oxidation and Microstructural Evolution of a Nickel Superalloy in a Formula 1 Car Exhaust

02 Oct 2017

The oxidation response and microstructural evolution of an Inconel 625 alloy exhaust manifold exposed to an automobile racing environment has been examined using a range of advanced electron microscopy-based techniques, atom probe tomography and high-sensitivity laser ablation mass spectrometry. The dynamic, corrosive gas conditions result in accelerated oxidation, with the inner exhaust surface also heavily contaminated by multiple species including Zn, P, K and Na. Nb carbides and Ti nitrides identified in stock control samples evolve into mixed (Ti, Nb)N species during exposure, decorated by smaller Mo, Si-rich precipitates. The exposed alloy component therefore reveals unique surface and subsurface features following in-service use.