A powder metallurgical process of preparing a sheet from a powder having an intermetallic alloy composition such as an iron, nickel or titanium aluminide. The sheet can be manufactured into electrical resistance heating elements having improved room temperature ductility, electrical resistivity, cyclic fatigue resistance, high temperature oxidation resistance, low and high temperature strength, and/or resistance to high temperature sagging. The iron aluminide has an entirely ferritic microstructure which is free of austenite and can include, in weight %, 4 to 32% Al, and optional additions such as .ltoreq.1% Cr, .gtoreq.0.05% Zr .ltoreq.2% Ti, .ltoreq.2% Mo, .ltoreq.1% Ni, .ltoreq.0.75% C, .ltoreq.0.1% B, .ltoreq.1% submicron oxide particles and/or electrically insulating or electrically conductive covalent ceramic particles, .ltoreq.1% rare earth metal, and/or .ltoreq.3 % Cu. The process includes forming a non-densified metal sheet by consolidating a powder having an intermetallic alloy composition such as by roll compaction, tape casting or plasma spraying, forming a cold rolled sheet by cold rolling the non-densified metal sheet so as to increase the density and reduce the thickness thereof and annealing the cold rolled sheet. The powder can be a water, polymer or gas atomized powder which is subjecting to sieving and/or blending with a binder prior to the consolidation step. After the consolidation step, the sheet can be partially sintered. The cold rolling and/or annealing steps can be repeated to achieve the desired sheet thickness and properties. The annealing can be carried out in a vacuum furnace with a vacuum or inert atmosphere. During final annealing, the cold rolled sheet recrystallizes to an average grain size of about 10 to 30 .mu.m. Final stress relief annealing can be carried out in the B2 phase temperature range.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to contract No. DE-AC05-840R21400 between the United States Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, Inc.