Crack healing behaviour of Cr2AlC MAX phase studied by X-ray tomography

R. Pei, S. A. McDonald, L. Shen, S. van der Zwaag, W. G. Sloof, P. J. Withers, P. M. Mummery

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The autonomous crack-healing capability of Cr2AlC MAX phase ceramic by surface oxidation at elevated temperatures has a huge potential for high temperature structural and protective coating applications. In this work we use time-lapse X-ray computed tomography (CT) to track the fine details of local crack filling phenomena in 3 dimensions (3D) with time. The maximum crack width that could be fully healed upon exposure to 1200 °C in air is 4.8 μm in 4 h and 10 μm after 12 h. Furthermore, during healing Cr7C3 phase is observed beneath the dense Al2O3 layer (average thickness of 1 μm on each crack surface) when the crack width exceeds 2 μm. The 3D image sequences indicated that the rate of healing is essentially independent of position along, or across, the crack faces. The crack healing kinetics of Cr2AlC at 1200 °C broadly follows a parabolic rate law with a rate constant of 4.6 × 10−4 μm2 s−1The microstructure, composition and thickness of the oxide scale in the healed crack area are characterized via post mortem SEM-EDS measurements and confirm the formation of an initial dense alumina layer on top of which a more porous layer forms. Impurity Cr particles appear to accelerate the oxidation process locally and correlative SEM imaging of the same region suggests this is by providing Cr2O3 nucleation sites.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)441-450
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
    Issue number2
    Early online date16 Sept 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


    • Correlative study
    • Cr2AlC
    • Crack healing
    • X-ray tomography


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