Phase Identification of Nanometric Precipitates in Al-Si-Cu Aluminum Alloy by Hr-Stem Investigations

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Aluminium recycling is cost-effective and beneficial for the environment. It is expected that this trend will continue in the future, and even will steadily increase. The consequence of the use of recycled materials is variable and difficult to predict chemical composition. This causes a significant reduction in the production process, since the properties of produced alloy are determined by the microstructure and the presence of precipitates of other phases. For this reason, the type and order of formation of precipitates were systematically investigated in recent decades. These studies involved, however, only the main systems (Al-Cu, Al-Mg-Si, Al-Cu-Mg, Al-Mg-Si-Cu), while more complex systems were not analysed. Even trace amounts of additional elements can significantly affect the alloy microstructure and composition of precipitates formed. This fact is particularly important in the case of new technologies such as laser surface treatment. As a result of extremely high temperature and temperature changes after the laser remelting large amount of precipitates are observed. Precipitates are nanometric in size and have different morphology and chemical composition. A full understanding of the processes that occur during the laser remelting requires their precise but also time effectively phase identification, which due to the diversity and nanometric size, is a major research challenge. This work presents the methodology of identification of nanometer phase precipitates in the alloy AlSi9Cu, based on the simultaneous TEM imaging and chemical composition analysis using the dispersion spectroscopy using the characteristic X-ray. Verification is performed by comparing the simulation unit cell of the identified phase with the experimental high-resolution image.

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