Porous NiTi alloys are receiving considerable attention as they can be used as scaffold for bone replacement. Most production routes presented in the literature use metal powders as raw material (pure Ni and Ti or prealloyed NiTi powders): among these processes, Self propagating High temperature Synthesis (SHS) is investigated as a possible energy saving, quick and easy method of production. To obtain porous NiTi, compacted Ti and Ni powders are preheated and then ignited, avoiding high reaction temperatures at which the compound melts and consequently pores collapse. A drawback of low reaction temperatures is the formation of secondary phases. In this paper the addition of hydrided titanium (TiHX, x=1.5-1.9) powder is considered. During the reaction, hydrided titanium endothermically decomposes and can act as process controlling media. Reference Ni-Ti and Ni-TiHx mixed powders were reacted and the temperature evolution monitored. Differential Scanning Calorimetry was used to verify the presence of transforming phases (austenite, martensite). Microstructure characterization was performed with X-ray diffraction analysis and scanning electron microscope, equipped with EDX and EBSD detectors. The results confirmed that decomposition of hydrided titanium is the controlling process of the reaction, limiting the availability of Ti and absorbing reaction heat. The presence of TiHx can suppress SHS reaction, leaving un-reacted Ni and Ti powders and high amount of other intermetallic phases. If partial or complete decomposition of TiHx is allowed during preheating of reactants, NiTi production can occur: secondary phases content decreases for increased decomposition of TiHx before SHS reaction.
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