Optimisation of sample geometry for thermo-mechanical testing of precipitation hardenable nickel-based superalloys with an ETMT machine

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Accurate determination of thermo‐mechanical properties in precipitation hardenable materials using an electro‐thermal mechanical testing (ETMT) system is a well‐established challenge. The non‐uniform distribution of temperature resulting from heating based on the joule effect (i.e., resistivity heating) leads to heterogeneous deformation along the gauge length, owing to the temperature dependency of mechanical properties, which makes their direct measurements complicated. This study presents an evaluation of four different miniaturised sample geometries that were tested to achieve an optimised sample with acceptable uniform strain and temperature distributions in the gauge volume. In‐situ displacement mapping, using digital image correlation (DIC), was utilised to calibrate the optimised sample dimensions with the aim of forcing the deformation to the hottest region of the gauge lengths during the tests. Tests were carried out on Inconel 718 (IN718) at 720°C, an optimal temperature for the precipitation of γ″, the primary strengthening particle in this alloy. The results showed that only in the case of the geometry proposed in this study (i.e., a sample with a short gauge length [~2 mm]) did the deformation acceptably localise at the centre, compared to other geometries. A correction methodology is developed that equates the strain measured using DIC over the 2 mm gauge length of the modified sample geometry with the strain measured using the linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) integrated to the ETMT, making future tests on IN718, and other precipitation hardenable materials, possible without the need for the use of a DIC system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jul 2023


  • Electro-Thermal Mechanical Testing (ETMT)
  • nickel-based superalloys
  • mechanical properties
  • Digital Image Correlation (DIC)
  • deformation and strain mapping
  • micro-mechanical testing


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