Precipitation of T₁ and θ' Phase in Al-4Cu-1Li-0.25Mn During Age Hardening: Microstructural Investigation and Phase-Field Simulation.
ABSTRACT: Experimental and phase field studies of age hardening response of a high purity Al-4Cu-1Li-0.25Mn-alloy (mass %) during isothermal aging are conducted. In the experiments, two hardening phases are identified: the tetragonal θ' (Al₂Cu) phase and the hexagonal T₁ (Al₂CuLi) phase. Both are plate shaped and of nm size. They are analyzed with respect to the development of their size, number density and volume fraction during aging by applying different analysis techniques in TEM in combination with quantitative microstructural analysis. 3D phase-field simulations of formation and growth of θ' phase are performed in which the full interfacial, chemical and elastic energy contributions are taken into account. 2D simulations of T₁ phase are also investigated using multi-component diffusion without elasticity. This is a first step toward a complex phase-field study of T₁ phase in the ternary alloy. The comparison between experimental and simulated data shows similar trends. The still unsaturated volume fraction indicates that the precipitates are in the growth stage and that the coarsening/ripening stage has not yet been reached.
Project description:In this paper, the dynamics of multi-dendrite concurrent growth and coarsening of an Al-15 <i>wt</i>.% Cu alloy was studied using a highly computationally efficient 3D phase field model and real-time synchrotron X-ray micro-tomography. High fidelity multi-dendrite simulations were achieved and the results were compared directly with the time-evolved tomography datasets to quantify the relative importance of multi-dendritic growth and coarsening. Coarsening mechanisms under different solidification conditions were further elucidated. The dominant coarsening mechanisms change from small arm melting and interdendritic groove advancement to coalescence when the solid volume fraction approaches ~0.70. Both tomography experiments and phase field simulations indicated that multi-dendrite coarsening obeys the classical Lifshitz-Slyozov-Wagner theory Rn-R0n = kc(t-t0), but with a higher constant of <i>n</i> = 4.3.
Project description:It is commonly accepted that twinning can induce an increase of strain-hardening rate during the tensile process of face-centered cubic (FCC) metals and alloys with low stacking fault energy (SFE). In this study, we explored the grain size effect on the strain-hardening behavior of a Cu-15 at.%Al alloy with low SFE. Instead of twinning, we detected a significant contribution of stacking faults (SFs) irrespective of the grain size even in the initial stage of tensile process. In contrast, twinning was more sensitive to the grain size, and the onset of deformation twins might be postponed to a higher strain with increasing the grain size. In the Cu-15 at.%Al alloy with a mean grain size of 47 μm, there was a stage where the strain-hardening rate increases with strain, and this was mainly induced by the SFs instead of twinning. Thus in parallel with the TWIP effect, we proposed that SFs also contribute significantly to the plasticity of FCC alloys with low SFE.
Project description:The existing literature data shows that conventional aluminium alloys may not be suitable for use in stellar-radiation environments as their hardening phases are prone to dissolve upon exposure to energetic irradiation, resulting in alloy softening which may reduce the lifetime of such materials impairing future human-based space missions. The innovative methodology of crossover alloying is herein used to synthesize an aluminium alloy with a radiation resistant hardening phase. This alloy-a crossover of 5xxx and 7xxx series Al-alloys-is subjected to extreme heavy ion irradiations in situ within a TEM up to a dose of 1 dpa and major experimental observations are made: the Mg32(Zn,Al)49 hardening precipitates (denoted as T-phase) for this alloy system surprisingly survive the extreme irradiation conditions, no cavities are found to nucleate and displacement damage is observed to develop in the form of black-spots. This discovery indicates that a high phase fraction of hardening precipitates is a crucial parameter for achieving superior radiation tolerance. Based on such observations, this current work sets new guidelines for the design of metallic alloys for space exploration.
Project description:Understanding the interaction between complex thermal fields and metallic structures at the meso-scale is crucial for the prediction of microstructural evolution during thermomechanical processing. The competitive growth of crystal grains, driven by thermodynamic forces at the grain boundaries, is one of the most fundamental phenomena in metallurgy and solid state physics. The presence of second phase particles, which act as pinning sites for boundaries, drastically alters the coarsening behaviour of the system; particularly when considering that these particles have different thermal properties to the primary phase. In this work a multi-phase field model, incorporating thermal gradient and curvature driving forces, is used to predict grain growth in a Ti6Al4V alloy system with second phase particle inclusions representative of oxide and carbide precipitates. The multi-phase field framework is fully coupled to the heat equation. The incorporation of the thermal gradient driving force enables the detailed behaviour of the grain boundaries around the particles to be predicted. It is shown that the inclusion of particles with a lower thermal conductivity has a significant influence on the coarsening behaviour of various systems of grains, due to the combined effects of thermal shielding and the generation of thermal gradient driving forces between the boundaries and pinning particles.
Project description:Strategies involving metastable phases have been the basis of the design of numerous alloys, yet research on metastable high-entropy alloys is still in its infancy. In dual-phase high-entropy alloys, the combination of local chemical environments and loading-induced crystal structure changes suggests a relationship between deformation mechanisms and chemical atomic distribution, which we examine in here in a Cantor-like Cr20Mn6Fe34Co34Ni6 alloy, comprising both face-centered cubic (fcc) and hexagonal closed packed (hcp) phases. We observe that partial dislocation activities result in stable three-dimensional stacking-fault networks. Additionally, the fraction of the stronger hcp phase progressively increases during plastic deformation by forming at the stacking-fault network boundaries in the fcc phase, serving as the major source of strain hardening. In this context, variations in local chemical composition promote a high density of Lomer-Cottrell locks, which facilitate the construction of the stacking-fault networks to provide nucleation sites for the hcp phase transformation.
Project description:The effect of pre-ageing (PA) time and temperature on subsequent natural secondary ageing (NSA) and paint bake (PB) hardening of an AA6014 Al-Mg-Si alloy was systematically investigated, especially when both parameters change. A wide range of PA conditions was covered with temperatures ranging from 80 °C to 160 °C and times from several minutes to several days depending on the PA temperature. Hardness data for such pre-treatments measured by Brinell method are given. Hardness data measured during NSA are fitted by various functions. This dataset might be reused for further kinetic analysis of the clustering in Al-Mg-Si alloys or for the determination of the optimal PA tactics for industrial production.
Project description:We review results of recent combined theoretical and experimental studies of Ti1-xAlxN, an archetypical alloy system material for hard-coating applications. Theoretical simulations of lattice parameters, mixing enthalpies, and elastic properties are presented. Calculated phase diagrams at ambient pressure, as well as at pressure of 10 GPa, show a wide miscibility gap and broad region of compositions and temperatures where the spinodal decomposition takes place. The strong dependence of the elastic properties and sound wave anisotropy on the Al-content offers detailed understanding of the spinodal decomposition and age hardening in Ti1-xAlxN alloy films and multilayers. TiAlN/TiN multilayers can further improve the hardness and thermal stability compared to TiAlN since they offer means to influence the kinetics of the favorable spinodal decomposition and suppress the detrimental transformation to w-AlN. Here, we show that a 100 degree improvement in terms of w-AlN suppression can be achieved, which is of importance when the coating is used as a protective coating on metal cutting inserts.
Project description:High iron impurity affects the castability and the tensile properties of the recycled Al-Si alloys due to the presence of the Fe containing intermetallic β-Al9Fe2Si2 phase. To date only Mn addition is known to transform the β-Al9Fe2Si2 phase in the Al-Si-Fe system. However, for the first time, as reported here, it is shown that β-phase transforms to the ω-Al7Cu2Fe phase in the presence of Cu, after solutionization at 793 K. The ω-phase decomposes below 673 K resulting into the formation of θ-Al2Cu phase. However, the present thermodynamic description of the Al-Si-Fe-Cu system needs finer tuning to accurately predict the stability of the ω-phase in these alloys. In the present study, an attempt was made to enhance the strength of Al-6wt%Si-2wt%Fe model recycled cast alloy with different amount of Cu addition. Microstructural and XRD analysis were carried out in detail to show the influence of Cu and the stability range of the ω-phase. Tensile properties and micro-hardness values are also reported for both as-cast and solutionized alloys with different amount of Cu without and with ageing treatment at 473 K. The increase in strength due to addition of Cu, in Fe-rich Al-Si alloys is promising from the alloy recyclability point of view.
Project description:The precipitation of nanoparticles plays a key role in determining the properties of many structural materials, and the understanding of their formation and stabilization mechanisms has been a long standing interest in the material field. However, the critical issues involving the group precipitation of various nanoparticles and their cooperative hardening mechanism remain elusive in the newly discovered Fe-based alloys with nanostructures. Here we quantitatively elucidate the nucleation mechanism, evolution kinetics and hardening effects of the group-precipitated nanoparticles in the Fe-Cu-Ni-Al-based alloys by atom probe tomography together with both first-principles and thermodynamic calculations. Our results provide the compelling evidence for two interesting but complex group precipitation pathways of nanoparticles, i.e., the Cu-rich and NiAl-based precipitations. The co-existence of the two precipitation pathways plays a key role in age hardening kinetics and ultimately enhances the hardening response, as compared to the single particle type of strengthening, therefore providing an effective new approach for strengthening materials for structural applications.
Project description:Age-hardening in Al alloys has been used for over a century to improve its mechanical properties. However, the lack of direct observation limits our understanding of the dynamic nature of the evolution of nanoprecipitates during age-hardening. Using in-situ (scanning) transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM) while heating an Al-Cu alloy, we were able to follow the growth of individual nanoprecipitates at atomic scale. The heat treatments carried out at 140, 160, 180 and 200?°C reveal a temperature dependence on the kinetics of precipitation and three kinds of interactions of nano-precipitates. These are precipitate-matrix, precipitate-dislocation, and precipitate-precipitate interactions. The diffusion of Cu and Al during these interactions, results in diffusion-controlled individual precipitate growth, an accelerated growth when interactions with dislocations occur and a size dependent precipitate-precipitate interaction: growth and shrinkage. Precipitates can grow and shrink at opposite ends at the same time resulting in an effective displacement. Furthermore, the evolution of the crystal structure within an individual nanoprecipiate, specifically the mechanism of formation of the strengthening phase, ?', during heat-treatment is elucidated by following the same precipitate through its intermediate stages for the first time using in-situ S/TEM studies.