Stable Speckle Patterns for Nano-scale Strain Mapping up to 700 °C

27 Jul 2017

The digital image correlation (DIC) of speckle patterns obtained by vapour-assisted gold remodelling at 200 – 350 °C has already been used to map plastic strains with submicron resolution. However, it has not so far proved possible to use such patterns for testing at high temperatures. Here we demonstrate how a gold speckle pattern can be made that is stable at 700 °C, to study deformation in a commercial TiAl alloy (Ti-45Al-2Nb- 2Mn(at%)-0.8 vol% TiB$_2$). The pattern is made up of a uniformly sized random array of Au islands as small as 15 nm in diameter, depending on reconstruction parameters, with a sufficiently small spacing to be suitable for nano-scale, nDIC, strain mapping at a subset size of 60 × 60 nm$^2$ . It can be used at temperatures up to 700 °C for many hours, for high cycle fatigue testing for instance. There is good particle attachment to the substrate. It can withstand ultra-sound cleaning, is thermally stable and has a high atomic number contrast for topography-free backscatter electron imaging.