Precipitation strengthening of aluminum alloys by room-temperature cyclic plasticity

Wenwen Sun, Yuman Zhu, Ross Marceau, Lingyu Wang, Qi Zhang, Xiang Gao, Christopher Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

326 Citations (Scopus)


High-strength aluminum alloys are important for lightweighting vehicles and are extensively used in aircraft and, increasingly, in automobiles. The highest-strength aluminum alloys require a series of high-temperature "bakes" (120° to 200°C) to form a high number density of nanoparticles by solid-state precipitation. We found that a controlled, room-temperature cyclic deformation is sufficient to continuously inject vacancies into the material and to mediate the dynamic precipitation of a very fine (1- to 2-nanometer) distribution of solute clusters. This results in better material strength and elongation properties relative to traditional thermal treatments, despite a much shorter processing time. The microstructures formed are much more uniform than those characteristic of traditional thermal treatments and do not exhibit precipitate-free zones. These alloys are therefore likely to be more resistant to damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-975
Number of pages4
Issue number6430
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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