Recent Developments Toward the Application of Iron Aluminides in Fossil Fuel Technologies


  • We should like to acknowledge the collaboration of L. M. Requejo and I. Gutierrez-Urrutia throughout the duration of the experimental research programs discussed here. We should also like to acknowledge Professors Jerzy Bystrzycki and Petr Kratochvil, of the Military University of Technology, Warsaw, and Charles University, Prague, respectively, for information on activities on iron aluminides in their respective countries. We should like to acknowledge the financial support of various funding agencies, including the PROFIT project CT-2902 and the Juan de la Cierva foundation.


Iron aluminides are of interest for applications in power generation from fossil fuels because of excellent high temperature oxidation–corrosion resistance in aggressive environments and are potential replacements for high temperature steels. The Fe-base composition ensures relative cheapness, while the high Al content leads to significant density reduction over commercial steels. Problems of low ductility/toughness at room temperature and poor high temperature (creep) strength, however, have prevented significant commercial use. After studies led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA) from about 1980 to 2000, research has continued in Europe both as pan-European efforts and as national efforts in countries such as the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Spain. An overview of such recent activities is presented, indicating the research strategies involved, and the progress toward making iron aluminides useful engineering materials. Recent activities have targeted microstructural refinement through novel processing to improve room temperature ductility or attempted alloying additions to improve high temperature strength. Achieving the required properties remains difficult, and has led to developments of iron aluminides as cast components and as coatings.