Effect of heat treatment on microstructure, microhardness and corrosion resistance of ZE41 Mg alloy

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Magnesium and its alloys are now attracting a great attention as promising materials for several light weight engineering applications. ZE41 is a new Mg alloy contains Zinc, Zirconium and Rare Earth elements as the important alloying elements and is widely used in aerospace applications. In the present study, heat treatment has been carried out at two different temperatures (300 and 335 °C) to assess the effect of heat treatment on microstructure and corrosion behavior of ZE41 Mg alloy. The grain size was observed as almost similar for the unprocessed and heat treated samples. Decreased amount of secondary phase (MgZn2) was observed after heat treating at 300 °C and increased intermetallic phase (Mg7Zn3) and higher number of twins appeared for the samples heat treated at 335 °C. Microhardness measurements showed increased hardness after heat treating at 300 °C and decreased hardness after heat treating at 335 °C which can be attributed to the presence of higher supersaturated grains after heat treating at 300 °C. The samples heat treated at 335 °C exhibited better corrosion resistance compared to those of base materials and samples heat treated at 300 °C. From the results, it can be understood that the selection of heat treatment temperature is crucial that depends on the requirement i.e. to improve the microhardness or at the loss of microhardness to improve the corrosion resistance of ZE41 Mg alloy.

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