Influence of crystallography upon critical nucleus shapes and kinetics of homogeneous f.c.c.-f.c.c. nucleation-V. The origin of GP zones in AlAg and AlCu alloys

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GP zone formation in aluminum-base alloys has been proposed, by previous investigators, to take place by spinodal decomposition or by homogeneous nucleation and growth. The possibilities of these two mechanisms are examined here for two alloy systems, AlAg and AlCu, representing two extreme cases, a narrow and a (potentially) very wide miscibility gap, respectively, resulting in low and high interphase boundary energies. The coherent spinodal and the temperature-composition curve corresponding to abundant homogeneous f.c.c.-f.c.c. nucleation were calculated for both systems. In AlAg alloys, the nucleation barrier is so low that negligible undercooling is needed to achieve abundant nucleation. Hence cooling into the spinodal region with ordinary quenching rates is virtually impossible. In AlCu, however, the inverse situation is present and GP zone formation by (or aided by) spinodal decomposition should be feasible if the diffusivity remains sufficiently high in the spinodal region. Detailed evaluation of the latter proposal is prevented, however, by the incompleteness of thermodynamic information on f.c.c. AlCu alloys. © 1984.

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Acta Metallurgica