Precipitation in an Al-Mg-Cu alloy and the effect of a low amount of Ag
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Original versionMaterials Science & Engineering: A. 2016, 658 91-98. 10.1016/j.msea.2016.01.087
Two high-purity aluminium alloys based on composition Al–3.0Mg–1.0Cu (wt%), one with added 0.4 wt% Ag, were compared up to 11 days ageing at 443 K by means of transmission electron microscopy and hardness measurements. The base alloy exhibits an inhomogeneous precipitate microstructure with a high density of fine needle-shaped Guinier-Preston-Bagaryatsky (GPB) zones together with coarser precipitates of S′-Al2CuMg and rods of the structurally unknown Z-phase. The S′ phase is preferably formed on dislocations. The addition of Ag has a strong effect, leading to a homogeneous distribution with fine Ag-containing icosahedral quasi-crystalline precipitates (iQC). Both the GPB zones in the base alloy and the iQC phase in the Ag added alloy survive even after long term ageing. Ag is found to suppress the formation of the S′ phase. It is suggested that the Z phase is an approximation phase to the quasi-crystalline phase as is the case for the T-phase, implying they are based on similar (Bergman) clusters.