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R-phase formation in Ti39Ni45Cu16 shape memory thin films and bulk alloys discovered by combinatorial methods
The combinatorial fabrication and high-throughput characterization of a Ti–Ni–Cu shape memory thin film composition spread led to the discovery of the shape memory alloy Ti39Ni45Cu16, which exhibits a single B2 → R-phase transformation above 25 °C with a thermal hysteresis width <1 K. Here we show that the thin film results correctly predict the phase transformation behavior of bulk material upon cooling from the high temperature phase. For both thin film and bulk, a two-step B2 → R-phase → B19′ transformation was found. The B2 → R-phase transformation can be exploited independently, due to a significant temperature separation of the two transformation steps. The shape memory effect in both thin film and bulk samples is limited due to the two-phase microstructure. Transmission electron microscopy investigations revealed the existence of Ti(Ni,Cu)2 precipitates within the TiNi(Cu) matrix, which are concluded to be responsible for the R-phase formation and separation of the transformation steps.