The strength and hardness in some metal or alloys may be enhanced by the presence of extremely small and uniformly dispersed particles within the original phase matrix. The aim of this paper was to prepare and characterize the Cu-0.4Cr-0.1Nb (wt.%) alloy strengthened by the high melting point intermetallic compound Cr2Nb. This phase is stable in solid and liquid Cu up to temperatures above 1600 °C and it contributes to the microstructural stability of the alloy during its application at elevated temperatures. Both chromium and niobium have a minimal solubility in solid Cu, which limits the decrease in conductivity. This alloy was produced by a combination of plasma melting and vacuum induction melting and it was formed into wires of diameters 0.3 and 0.5 mm. The structural properties and chemical composition were evaluated using scanning electron microscope JSM-7600F equipped with a WDS spectrometer INCA and the high-resolution field emission gun-scanning electron microscope QUANTA 450 FEG equipped with an energy dispersive Xray analyzer APOLLO X. The samples were subjected to the tensile testing. The Cr2Nb precipitates were fairly uniformly distributed in Cu-matrix and their mean size was approx. 1-3 um. The ultimate tensile strength of wires was substantially increased in comparison to an unalloyed copper wire.Keywords: Cu-Cr-Nb alloy, Cr2Nb precipitates, induction melting, wire drawing, mechanical properties.
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