Segregation assisted grain boundary precipitation in a model Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloyTuesday (05.11.2019) 14:40 - 15:00 Part of:
Understanding the composition and structure evolution of grain boundaries and grain boundary precipitation at near-atomic scale in aluminum alloys is crucial to tailor mechanical properties and to increase resistance to corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. Here, using atom probe tomography and scanning transmission electron microscopy, we elucidate the sequence of precipitation on grain boundaries in comparison to the bulk in a model Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy. The process starts with solute enrichment on grain boundaries due to equilibrium segregation accompanied by solute depletion in their vicinity, the formation of Guinier-Preston (GP) zones in the solute-enriched grain boundary regions, and GP zones growth and transformation. The equilibrium segregation of solutes to grain boundaries during aging accelerates this sequence compared to the bulk. Analysis of the ~10 nm wide precipitate-free zones adjacent to the solute-enriched grain boundaries shows that the depletion zones are determined by (i) interface equilibrium segregation; (ii) formation and coarsening of the grain boundary precipitates and (iii) the diffusion range of solutes in the matrix.