We investigated interactions between Ti6Al4V alloys and strontium zirconate (SrZrO3) ceramic to assess its potential as a refractory mold material in investment casting. We developed a robust yet simple procedure to examine both the liquid–solid and solid–solid interactions using pellets in drop casting and diffusion couple methods. Reaction layers were characterized using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The results were compared to alumina (Al2O3) which is still a common refractory ceramic for molds in investment casting. Our findings indicate that Ti6Al4V surfaces in contact with SrZrO3 had no apparent changes in surface chemistry nor microstructure. On the other hand, Ti6Al4V surfaces in contact with Al2O3 developed γ-TiAl and α 2-Ti3Al intermetallics with thicknesses of ~ 100 μm in diffusion couples and ~ 10 μm in drop-casting experiments. Nanoindentation results showed that the surface of Ti6Al4V in contact with Al2O3 was significantly harder compared to SrZrO3, confirming our conclusion. Given the time and costs associated with mechanical and chemical removal of reaction layers on Ti6Al4V castings, SrZrO3 can be a better choice for a mold material in the investment casting of titanium alloys.


Materials Science and Engineering


Air Force Research Laboratory, Grant FA8650-18-C-5700

Keywords and Phrases

investment casting; refractories; strontium zirconate; Ti6Al4V; titanium

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1544-1024; 1059-9495

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2023