Precipitate Evolution and Strengthening in Supersaturated Rapidly Solidified Al-Sc-Zr Alloys

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Because of the low diffusivities of scandium and zirconium in aluminum, trialuminide precipitates containing these elements have been reported to possess excellent thermal stability at temperatures of 573 K (300 °C) and higher. However, the relatively low equilibrium solubilities of these elements in aluminum limit the achievable phase fraction and, in turn, strengthening contributions from these precipitates. One method of circumventing this limitation involves the use of rapid solidification techniques to suppress the initial formation of precipitates in alloys containing higher solute compositions. This work specifically discusses the fabrication of supersaturated Al-Sc, Al-Zr, and Al-Sc-Zr alloys via melt spinning, in which supersaturations of at least 0.55 at. pct Zr and 0.8 at. pct Sc are shown to be attainable through XRD analysis. The resulting ribbons were subjected to a multistep aging heat treatment in order to encourage a core–shell precipitate morphology, the precipitate evolution behavior was monitored with XRD and TEM, and the aging behavior was observed. While aging in these alloys is shown to follow similar trends to conventionally processed materials reported in literature, with phase fraction increasing until higher aging temperatures causing a competing dissolution effect, the onset of precipitation begins at lower temperatures than previously observed and the peak hardnesses occurred at higher temperature steps due to an increased aging time associated with increased solute concentration. Peaking in strength at a higher temperature doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in thermal stability, but rather emphasizes the need for intelligently designed heat treatments to take full advantage of the potential strengthening of supersaturated Al-Sc-Zr alloys.

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© 2017, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11661-017-3982-4

Publication Title

Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science