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Microstructural characterization of lamellar features in TiAl by FIB imaging
A novel experimental procedure is introduced to determine phase fractions and the distribution of individual phases of TiAl-based two-phase alloys using the focused ion beam (FIB) technique. Two γ-titanium aluminide alloys with a fine-grained duplex and a nearly lamellar microstructure are examined. The special FIB-based preparation procedure results in high contrast ion beam-induced images for all investigated alloys and allows to quantify the phase contents easily by automated microstructural analysis. Fine two-phase structures, e.g. lamellar colonies in γ-TiAl, can be imaged in high resolution with respect to different phases. To validate the FIB-derived data, we compare them to results obtained with another method to determine phase fractions, electron back-scatter diffraction (EBSD). This direct comparison shows that the FIB-based technique generally provides slightly higher α2-fractions, and thus helps to overcome the limited lateral resolution near grain boundaries and interfaces associated with the conventional EBSD approach. Our study demonstrates that the FIB-based technique is a simple, fast, and more exact way to determine high resolution microstructural characteristics with respect to different phase constitutions in two-phase TiAl alloys and other such materials with fine, lamellar microstructures.