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The decomposition process in high-purity Al-1.7 at.% Cu alloys with trace elements: Preservation of quenched-in vacancies by In, Sn and Pb influencing the θ′ formation

: Staab, T.E.M.; Lotter, F.; Mühle, U.; Elsayed, M.; Petschke, D.; Schubert, T.; Ibrahim, A.M.; Krause-Rehberg, R.; Kieback, B.

Fulltext ()

Journal of Materials Science : JMS 56 (2021), No.14, pp.8717-8731
ISSN: 0022-2461
ISSN: 1573-4803
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IFAM, Institutsteil Pulvermetallurgie und Verbundwerkstoffe Dresden ()

Aluminium-copper alloys of the 2xxx type receive their excellent mechanical properties by the formation of copper-rich precipitates during hardening. Size, distribution and crystal structure of the formed precipitates determine the final strength of those alloys. Adding traces of certain elements, which bind to vacancies, significantly influences the decomposition behaviour, i.e. the diffusion of the copper atoms. For high-purity ternary alloys (Al-1.7 at.% Cu-X), we investigate the interaction of copper and trace element atoms (X=In, Sn, and Pb) with quenched-in vacancies by Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy (PALS). By employing Vickers microhardness, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) we obtain a comprehensive picture of the decomposition process: opposite to predicted binding energies to vacancies by ab-initio calculations we find during ageing at room and elevated temperature a more retarded clustering of copper in the presence of In rather than for Sn additions, while Pb, having the highest predicted binding to vacancies, shows nearly no retarding effect compared to pure Al-Cu. If the latter would be due to a limited solubility of lead, it had to be below 2 ppm. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) as imaging method complements our findings. Annealing the quenched Al-1.7 at.% Cu-X-alloys containing 100 ppm In or Sn at 150∘C leads to finely distributed θ′-precipitates on the nanoscale, since due to the trace additions the formation temperature of θ′ is lowered by more than 100∘C. According to TEM small agglomerates of trace elements (In, Sn) may support the early nucleation for the θ′-precipitates.