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Aluminium alloys & precipitation hardening

MECH2300 Materials Lecture 8 R. W. Truss School of Engineering Division of Materials

Pure Aluminium
in the annealed state - soft and low yield strength ~ 7-11 MPa - strengthening mechanisms possible solid solution strengthening strain hardening precipitation hardening

Solid solution strengthening of pure aluminium


element atomic % Mn 0.5 Cu 1.0 Mg 2.2 Mg 6 (cf pure Al, y ~ 7-11MPa) yield stress 20 MPa 15 MPa 30 MPa 175 MPa

Work hardening of aluminium alloys


Work hardening eg cold rolling Yield strength increases with strain y = A n

Note: higher additions of Mn lead to the formation of Al6Mn

Strain hardening
Cold working generates a high density of dislocations dislocation density annealed 1010 m-2 cold worked 1016 m-2 dislocation entanglements resist further dislocation motion

Precipitation hardening / Age hardening


Very high strength to density ratios achieved in Al alloys by precipitation hardening small precipitates act as obstacles to dislocation motion

Precipitation hardening
Requires: 1. single phase region () with marked change in solubility with temperature 2. ability to quench from single phase region into two phase region but retain supersaturated solid solution (SSSS) 2. ability to AGE the structure - SSSS decomposes to give large volume fraction of precipitates of a second phase

Typical Phase Diagram for Precipitation Hardening For composition C0 at T0 - single phase , B dissolved in A between T0 and T1 - Solubility of B in A decreases with T at T2 - two phases, &

Example: Al-Cu phase diagram

Example: Al - 4.5 wt% Cu alloys


Equilibrium phases at room temperature are Al solid solution + (Al2Cu) on slow coolinglarge phase at grain boundaries of (Al)

Precipitation hardening in Al - 4.5wt% Cu


1. Solution treat Heat to ~550 C and hold dissolves and all Cu dissolved in (Al) phase 2. Quench cool with no time for diffusion Cu trapped in structure Supersaturated solid solution of Cu in Al 3. Age - Reheat to ~ 200C (below solvus) allows diffusion - SSSS decomposes and fine precipitates form within grains of (Al) fine ppts retained on cooling and stable at room temperature

Steps in Precipitation Hardening

TTT diagram for precipitation of CuAl2

Mechanism of Precipitation
Stage 1 Clustering of solute atoms - form zone 1-2 atoms thick within solid solution zone still coherent with parent lattice introduce significant lattice strain Guinier-Preston (GP) zones

Mechanism of Precipitation
Stage 2 intermediate precipitates may form (eg ) definite composition and crystal structure different from equilibrium phase semi-coherent with parent lattice

Mechanism of Precipitation
Stage 3 growth of ppt forms equilibrium phase total loss of coherence

Stages in formation of equilibrium precipitates in Al-Cu

Supersaturated solid solution

Guinier-Preston (GP) Zones/ - Precipitates still have coherent interfaces

Equilibrium precipitate Incoherent interface

7150-T651 aluminium alloy (6.2 Zn, 2.3 Cu, 2.3 Mg, 0.12 Zr) Small precipitates , equilibrium; MgZn2

Strengthening mechanisms
Before aging 1. Solid solution strengthening - Supersaturated matrix - Decreases as aging occurs

Strengthening mechanisms
4. Dislocations bow around precipitate 3. Dislocation can cut through precipitate

2. Coherency stress hardening Strain field around GP zone impedes dislocation motion

Dislocation cutting through ppt: Creates new surfaces generates new solute/solvent bonds Energy required to cut through ppt increases with size As precipitates grow: Easier to loop around and bypass obstacle (Orowan loops) smaller ppt disappear as larger ones grow and looping becomes easier

Peak Aging
strength increases to max. and then decreases aging to max. strength : peak aging when strength begins to decrease : over aged If overaged, only way to recover peak strength is to solution treat and start aging again!

precipitation hardening - other systems


control mechanical properties by changing ageing time and temperature
Base Al Ti Cu Ni Stainless steel Maraging steel ppt wt% 6Zn, 3Mg 2Cu 6Al 4V 2 Be condition Anneal aged Anneal aged UTS MPa Elongation % 228 572 951 1172 476 1220 1010 1380 640 1000 1000 2100 16 11 12 8 47 7 20 10 48 24 17 11

notes: 1. over aging may happen if these alloys are used at elevated temperatures 2. Aging may occur during welding of Al alloys

Anneal aged 2.5Ti Anneal 4.5Al aged 0.3V, 2Ti Anneal 0.4 Al, 0.1C aged 18 Ni, 5Mo Anneal 1Ti aged

Designation of aluminium alloys


codes 1xxx 2xxx 3xxx 4xxx 5xxx 6xxx 7xxx 8xxx major alloying element none - ( > 99.00% pure Al) Cu Mn Si Mg Mg and Si Zn other

Temper designations
Because the properties of Al alloys are so depended on the thermo-mechanical history system developed to designate history

Temper designations
F O H1 H2 H3 as fabricated annealed strain hardened only strain hardened and partially annealed strain hardened and stabilised

Temper designations
T1 cooled from elevated temp. shaping process and naturally aged to stable condition T2 cooled from elevated temp. shaping process, cold worked and naturally aged to stable condition T3 solution heat treated, cold worked and naturally aged to stable condition T4 solution heat-treated and and naturally aged to stable condition

Temper designations
T5 cooled from elevated temp. shaping process and artificially aged T6 solution heat treated and artificially aged T7 solution heat treated and stabilised T8 solution heat treated, cold worked and artificially aged T9 solution heat treated, artificially aged and cold worked T10 cooled from elevated temp. shaping process, cold worked and artificially aged