Effects of calcium on strength and microstructural evolution of extruded alloys based on Mg-3Al-1Zn-0.3Mn

Z. R. Zeng, Y. M. Zhu, J. F. Nie, S. W. Xu, C. H.J. Davies, N. Birbilis

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A family of alloys based on the Mg-Al-Zn-Ca-Mn system (Mg-3Al-1Zn-1Ca-0.3Mn, Mg-3Al-1.5Zn-0.5Ca-0.3Mn, and Mg-3Al-1Ca-0.3Mn, wt pct) was developed for extrusion. Their mechanical properties were evaluated by tensile testing at room temperature, and compared to those of the benchmark Mg-alloy Mg-3Al-1Zn-0.3Mn (AZ31). The microstructures of the extruded alloys were characterized in detail in order to reveal the effect of Ca on microstructural evolution, and consequently the alloy strength. The addition of Ca to the AZ31 stifles dynamic recrystallization and grain growth, with only ~30 pct recrystallization and a recrystallized grain size of ~480 nm. In contrast, the benchmark alloy is essentially completely recrystallized with an average grain size of ~2.3 μm. A high density of low-angle grain boundaries (LAGBs) and dislocations were observed in Ca-containing alloys, and were identified as a major factor in the observed strengthening. Such LAGBs form cellular subgrains predominantly along initial grain boundaries, or newly formed boundaries that are closely spaced (~ 600 nm) and nearly parallel to the extrusion direction. The subgrains have an ultrafine size of 100 to 400 nm, and difficult to convert to recrystallized grains. Solute segregation to grain boundaries was also observed. It is hypothesized that it is the Ca segregation to dislocation cores along LAGBs that decreases the dislocation mobility and stabilizes LAGBs, by thermodynamically decreasing the dislocation energy and/or kinetically imposing a solute drag effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4344–4363
Number of pages20
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

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