René alloys are nickel-based super alloys (René 41, René 88, René N5 etc. etc.). But how did it get the name René? Is it an acronym or contraction of other terms? It was created by Earl Ross and the General Electric Materials Science group, so it doesn't seem to be the name of the discoverer.


Similar to inox for inoxydable (inoxidable), it equally is a French coinage. To tune mechanical properties of iron, mixing additives leads to numerous alloys of iron. In case of rene or rené as contraction of résistant (durable) and on base of Nickel, and is example of the superalloys.

This source technologie des métaux et alliages - particulièrement en aéronautique (technology of metals and alloys, especially in aviation industry) by Dominique Ottello (2003), section "Les alliages de nickel: / the alloys of nickel" on page 15 states:

Ils conviennent pour les trois types de sollicitations : MÉCANIQUES, THERMIQUES et CHIMIQUES (très grande résistance à la fatigue, au fluage et à la corrosion à chaud). Il existe plusieurs familles d'alliages de NICKEL :

  • Les alliages NICKEL + CUIVRE : alliages "MONEL" qui présentent une bonne résistance à la corrosion chimique, utilisables jusqu'à 500 °C.

  • Les alliages NICKEL + CHROME + FER : alliages "INCONEL" qui sont très tenaces et utilisables jusqu'à 700 à 800 °C.

  • Les alliages NICKEL + CHROME + COBALT : alliages "NIMONIC" et alliages "RENE". Ils sont très tenaces et présentent une bonne résistance au FLUAGE, utilisables jusqu'à 950 °C.

NOTA : Dans les alliages de NICKEL à haute température, on rencontre :

  • Des alliages plus spécialement réservés à la FONDERIE.
  • Des alliages pour CORROYAGE.
  • Des alliages à durcissement structural par traitements thermiques.

For our non-Francophon readers:

These [Nickel-derived alloys] are suitable for three fields of application / strain: mechanical, thermic, and chemical (very high endurance against fatigue, compression, and corrosion at high temperatures). There are several groups of nickel-based alloys

  • alloys based on nickel and copper: "monel" alloy, with a good resistance against chemical corrosion, serviceable up to $\pu{500 ^\circ{}C}$ [i.e., $\pu{932 F}$]
  • alloys based on nickel, chrome, iron: "inconel"alloy, tenacious and deployable up to $700$ or $\pu{800 ^\circ{}C}$ [i.e., $1292$ to $\pu{1472 F}$].
  • alloys based on nickel, chrome, and cobalt: "nimonic" and "rene" alloys. These are very tenacious and exhibit a good resistance against traction, deployable up to $\pu{950 ^\circ{}C}$ [i.e., $\pu{1742 F}$].

Note: One finds, among the nickel-based alloys with high melting point:

  • alloys foreseen / dedicated for deployment in foundries / casting houses
  • alloys for wrought (e.g., forging, rolling, etc.)
  • alloys for hardening by thermal treatment

Voilà !

  • $\begingroup$ conjunction seems like you meant portmanteau? $\endgroup$
    – cat
    Jun 27 '17 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @cat Actually, "contraction". $\endgroup$ Jun 27 '17 at 7:41
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm confused. If it's a contraction of "résistant" and "nickel", why is it "rené" rather than "réni"? $\endgroup$ Jun 27 '17 at 7:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby I speculate "rene" is easier to use internationally. Not only in terms of trade, but in terms of comparing qualities and establishing standards. There was a time where German Krupps and French-Alsatian De Dietrich were competing each other, not to forget other manufactures, too. In addition, a French "réni" sounds maybe not identical, yet ressembles an UK English "rene/é". Eventually, the French source does not claim who invented rene alloys, too. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Jun 27 '17 at 12:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @cat Yes, portmanteau is exactly the word intended. "Contraction" seems to fit, too. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Jun 27 '17 at 12:50

René means “re-born” in French, it is related to one of the alloys which was not weldable when invented, but after modification it was re-born and used in production.


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