The Al-Ag system is thought to be a well-understood model system used to study diffusional phase transformations in alloys. Here we report the existence of a new precipitate phase, ζ, in this classical system using scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). The ζ phase has a modulated structure composed of alternating bilayers enriched in Al or Ag. Our in situ annealing experiments reveal that the ζ phase is an intermediate precipitate phase between GP zones and γ′. First-principles calculations show that ζ is a local energy minimum state formed during Ag clustering in Al. The layered structure of ζ is analogous to the well-known Ag segregation at the precipitate-matrix interfaces when Ag is microalloyed in various aluminium alloys.
- Aluminium alloys
- Atomic structure
- Density functional theory (DFT) calculation
- Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM)