Materials Sciences and Applicatio ns, 2011, 2, 1279-1284
doi:10.4236/msa.2011.29172 Published Online September 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Discontinuous Precipitation in Al-8% Mass.Mg
Alloy under the Effect of Temperature
Said Bensaada, Mohamed Tewfik Bouziane, Ferhat Mohammedi
Laboratoire Larhyss, Université Mohamed Khider BP Biskra, Biskra, Algeria.
Received February 4th, 2011; revised April 20th, 2011; accepted June 23rd, 2011.
The precipitation in the alloy Al-Mg system has been the subject of many theoritical and experimental investigations
that have contributed to the understanding of the different mechanisms which control them. The purpose of this work is
to clarify the effect of temperature on the mechanisms of these during ageing of Al-8% mass.Mg alloy. The techniques
of analysis used in this respect are the optical microscopy, the X-ray diffraction and the micro hardness Vickers.
Keywords: Alloy Al-Mg, Precipitation, Temperature
1. Introduction
The transformations of the most significant phases are
those which appear in the supersaturated solid solutions
representing only one phase α0 in equilibrium and of
which the steady state corresponds to two phases. One α
depleted in alloy components and of the same structure
of the initial phase α0 and other phase precipitate β rich in
alloy components and of different structure. This trans-
formation is indicated by the term of precipitation and
corresponds to the reaction [1]:
The processes of precipitation which are gouverned by
diffusion phenomenon are generally classified in two
principal categories:
—The continues precipitation (or nucleation) is homo-
geneous and completely appears randomely in the whole
alloy. One of the principal characteristics of this reaction
is the continues variation of the lattice parameter of the
initial phase α0 and of the concentration of the solute
—And the discontinuous precipitation where nuclea-
tion is heterogeneous leading to the presence of two dis-
tinct regions. One is transformed into alternate lamellar
form (
) behind a mobile grain boundary and the
other not. They takes place initially and preferably on
heterogeneities of the matrix phase α0 which they can be
dislocations, surfaces of impurities or grain boundaries.
Its characteristic during ageing is the discontinuous
variation of the lattice parameter of the matrix phase [2].
Precipitation in the Alloy Al-Mg System
Precipitation in this alloys system is characterized by
intermediate states exibits to the metastable phases ac-
cording to this scheme [3-10].
0G.P Zones
 
The stage of pre-precipitation in this system of alloy
leads to the formation of G.P zones (small domain rich
on solute content). Different technique were used for the
description of G.P zones in this alloy system, such as the
diffraction of X-rays with high angles used by Dauger
and all [11] in alloy Al-12% mass.Mg. The measure-
ments of the resistivity carried out in alloy Al-10%
mass.Mg and which show an increase in the resistivity
during ageing [12-14] and an electron microscopy is used
on the same alloy [15].
Some authors [16,17] assume that the formation of G.P
zones at room temperature is only for magnesium rates
beyond 10% in atoms, whereas others estimate that this
critical rate is about 5% in magnesium atoms [18, 19].
An increase in the temperature of ageing around 100˚C
[20] led to the dissolution of G.P zones and the parti-
. Thus allowing also the formation of intermedi-
ate phase
, metastable, semi-coherent and with a com-
position of Al3 Mg2 of hexagonal structure. The precipi-
are formed by nucleation and growth on the
structural defects of the matrix. Their growth leads to a
total loss of coherence by arrangement of the dislocations
to the
interface and consequently to the formation
of the stable phase β of the same composition than the
Discontinuous Precipitation in Al-8% Mass.Mg Alloy under the Effect of Temperature
but of cubic with centered faces structure [20].
However, the transformation mechanisms of
and of
on β in equilibrium phase are not yet
clear. It is known that plastic deformation introduces
defects into the matrix after quenching leading to the
acceleration of the precipitation process. However in this
alloy system the ageing at high temperatures can start in
addition to the process of precipitation, the process of
recrystallization which can involve a slow down of the
precipitation process gouverned by diffusion. This means
that the recrystallisation led to the formation of a new
matrix containing much less dislocations and of fine
grains than those of the annealed alloy. But the nucleus
formation of a new phase within a solid solution super-
saturated and deformed after quenching, can oppose to
the movement of grain boundaries and consequently,
slow the recrystallisation and leads of an interaction be-
tween the precipitation and the recrystallization.
Indeed for the creation of the homogenoues structure
of the supersaturated solid solutions generally consist
with a an elevation of the load breaking by hardeness.
The increase in hardness in the alloy Al-Mg system per-
haps obtained by an increase in the magnesium content
[21-25]. However in alloys hardened by ageing, the me-
chanical properties are related on the size and the disper-
sion of the particles and their interaction with mobile
dislocations. In the same way the mechanism of harden-
ing is controlled by the shearing of these particles by
mobile dislocations. This would explain the reduction in
ductility accompanying the hardening observed [26,27]
du to the stackings of dislocations, caused by the stress
fields surrounding the particles.
2. Experimental Methods
Alloy Al-8%mass.Mg was prepared for the investigation
by vacum induction melting of the elements (Al and Mg)
of high purity. The ingots were then homogenized at
440˚C for 44 hours followed by an ice quenching. The
deformation of the samples used for ageing at 160˚C,
220˚C and 270˚C are obtained by colled rolling. The
ageing conditions are simultaneously obtained from lit-
erature and from the equilibrium diagram of the alloy
Al-Mg system. In this respect the vacuum annealing was
performed. The optical microscopy, the diffraction of
X-rays and the microhardness are the principal methods
of analysis. The metallographic observation were per-
formed after etching in the solution of Keller (07 ml of
HF, 09 ml of hydrochloric acid, 20 ml of nitric acid and
85 ml of distilled water).
3. Results and Discussion
In order to make in evidence the effect of the tempera-
ture on the mechanisms of precipitation in alloy Al-8%
mass.Mg, we have chosen three temperatures of ageing
(160˚C, 220˚C and 270˚C) favorable to this type of
3.1. Ageing at 160˚C
The interesting feature of this alloy is that the plastic
deformation induced twins and dislocations which can
play an essential role to stimulate the process of precipi-
tation. However ageing at the temperature of 160˚C is
only favorable to the continuous precipitation and with
the intermediate phase
is characterized by an inter-
esting aspect as shown in Figure 1(a). This structure is
called Widmannsttaten, it is probably the direct cones-
quence of the germination of the phase
. The particles
of this phase are developed in the form of needles (Fig-
ure 1(b)) and when the nucleation and the growth of the
are performed, i.e. the totality of the phase
is formed and total coherence is lost, thus we have
the transformation of
on β in equilibrium phase. The
Figure 1. Structural evolution of Al-8% mass.Mg alloy,
homogeneised at 440˚C during 44 h, quenched in ice, de-
formed of 35%, aged at 160˚C during 4 h (a) and during 18
h (b).
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Discontinuous Precipitation in Al-8% Mass.Mg Alloy under the Effect of Temperature
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
evolution of microhardness HV during ageing is repre-
sented in Figure 5(a). We can notice that a maximum
hardening is obtained after an annealing of 90 hours then
decreases during the extension of ageing time.
3.2. Ageing at 220˚C
During ageing at 220˚C, the presence of the lamellar pre-
cipitate is confirmed by optical microscopy as shown in
Figure 2(a) and (b). This means that this temperature is
only favorable to discontinuous precipitation developing
on the grain boundaries. The morphology of the precipi-
tate varies from a region to another. In the same way the
mechanism S is more dominating Figure 3(a) and (b)
The microhardness starting increases from the value ob-
tained at the quenched condition until a maximum corre-
sponding to a duration of 63 hours then to decrease Fig-
ure 5(b). One can deduce that the maximum hardening is
obtained when the totality of the intermediate phase
is formed. The transformation of
into equilibrium phase
Figure 3. Structural evolution of Al-8% mass.Mg alloy,
homogeneised at 440˚C during 44 h, quenched in ice, aged
at 270˚C during 22 h and with S-mechanism.
β leads to the decrease of hardness. In the same way the
diffraction of X-rays confirms the precipitation in this
alloy Figure 4.
3.3. Ageing at 270˚C
With the temperature of ageing at 270˚C, only the conti-
noues precipitation appears. For high temperatures dis-
continuous precipitation disappears, because the volume
diffusion prevents its growth and its nucleation becomes
difficult (slows down the movement of the reaction
front). The increase in the temperature accelerates rela-
tively the diffusion process. Best hardening is obtained
after 54 hours of duration Figure 5(c) and more we pro-
long ageing, we lose hardness more.
4. Conclusions
The whole results presented in this work reflects in par-
ticular the effect of the temperature on the mode of pre-
cipitation in alloy Al-8% mass.Mg. A predeformation
with ageing at 160˚C reveals the structure of Wid-
mannsttaten, with a growth in needles form and leading
Figure 2. Structural evolution of Al-8% mass.Mg alloy,
homogeneised at 440˚C during 44 h, quenched in ice, aged
at 220˚C during 22 h.
Discontinuous Precipitation in Al-8% Mass.Mg Alloy under the Effect of Temperature
Figure 4. Xrays difraction of Al-8% mass.Mg alloy, homogeneised at 440˚C during 44 h, quenched in ice (a), aged at 160˚C
during 22 h (b).
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. MSA
Discontinuous Precipitation in Al-8% Mass.Mg Alloy under the Effect of Temperature1283
Figure 5. Microhardness (HV) evolution structural of
Al-8% mass.Mg alloy, homogeneised at 440˚C during 44 h,
quenched in ice, aged at 160˚C (a), at 220˚C (b) and at
270˚C (c).
to a continuous precipitation. Continues precipitation is
favoured at high and low temperature, while discontinu-
ous precipitation dominates at intermediate temperatures.
High temperatures accelerate relatively the diffusion
process and the mechanism S is more dominating in dis-
continuous precipitation. Hardening was observed at all
temperatures of ageing, however the extension of ageing
time of bearing led to a hardness fall.
5. Acknowledgements
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support
by the M.E.S.R.S Ministry for the Higher Education and
the Requirend scientist of Algeria under research labo-
ratory LARHYSS, University of Biskra.
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