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Aluminum Physical Metallurgy








Learn about the physical metallurgy of aluminium in this comprehensive guide. Discover mechanical and physical properties, phase diagrams, heat treatment, and more.

In the book “Aluminum: Properties and Physical Metallurgy”

by John E. Hatch – ASM International (1984)


Chapter 1. Properties of Pure Aluminum

  • Mechanical Properties
  • Tensile and Yield Properties
  • Stress-Strain Relationships
  • Creep
  • Physical Properties
  • Compressibility
  • Metallurgy and Alloys
  • Melting Point – Heat of Fusion
  • Surface Tension
  • Viscosity
  • Oxidation of Aluminum
  • Gases and Aluminum

Chapter 2. Costitution of Alloys

  • Types of Systems
  • Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium Solidification
  • Phase Diagrams and Thermodynamics
  • Major Alloy Systems
  • Low Level Alloy Systems

Chapter 3. Microstructure of Alloys

  • Light Microscopy of Wrought Alloys
  • Quantitative Metallography
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

Chapter 4. Work Hardening, Recovery, Recrystallization, and Grain Growth

  • Work Hardening
  • Annealing
  • Crystallographic Texture
  • Surface Effects of Deformation

Chapter 5. Metallurgy of Heat Treatment and General Principles of Precipitation Hardening

  • Natural of Precipitates and Sources of Hardening
  • Precipitation in Specific Alloy Systems
  • Ingot Preheating Treatments
  • Annealing
  • Solution Heat Treatment
  • Quenching
  • Aging at Room Temperature (Natural Aging)
  • Precipitation Heat Treatment (Artificial Aging)
  • Artificial Aging of 7XXX Alloys
  • Dimensional Changes in Heat Treating

Chapter 6. Effects of Alloying Elements and Impurities on Properties

Chapter 7. Corrosion Behavior

  • Atmospheres
    • Influence of Type of Atmospheres
    • Fresh Waters
    • Use of Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys
    • Metal Matrix Composites for Nuclear Dry Waste Storage
    • Foods
    • Controlled Microstructures by Heat-Treatments
    • Halogenated Hydrocarbons
    • Building Materials
  • Overlapping of Different Corrosion Cells
    • Basic Study of Al–Cu Galvanic Corrosion Cell
    • Stress-Corrosion Cracking
    • Environmental Variables, Environmental Variables, and Erosion-Corrosion
  • Influence of Microstructure on Corrosion
  • Environmental Factors
  • Preventive Measure
    • Alloy and Temper Selection
    • Influence of Design
    • Thickened Surface Oxide Films

Chapter 8. Properties of Commercial Casting Alloys

  • Major Alloy Systems
  • Minor Alloying and Impurity Elements
  • Alloy Development

Chapter 9. Properties of Commercial Wrought Alloys

  • Alloy and Temper Designations
  • Non-Heat Treatable Alloys
  • Heat Treatable Alloys
  • Applications of Wrought Alloys
  • Effect of Directionality on Properties

Chapter 10. Aluminum Powder and Powder Metallurgy Products

  • Aluminum Particles
  • Applications of Aluminum Particulates and Powder
    • Metallurgical Industries
    • Commercial Explosives and Propellants
  • Pressed and Sintered Powder Metallurgy Parts
  • High-Strenght Wrought Powder Metallurgy Products


Chapter 3

Some important thoughts from this book

Light Microscopy of Wrought Alloys

Light microscopy is the major tool for microstructural determination of aluminium alloys and it recommended for use before electron optics.

  • It is useful up to magnifications of about 1500× where features as small as 0,1 μm can be resolved.
  • Light microscopy identifies most second-phase particles of sufficient size (>1 μm), shows the size and distribution of resolvable particles.
  • It shows the state of the grain and crystal structure of aluminium or solid matrix.
  • It can also show features such as
    – cladding thickness and diffusion,
    – type and depth of corrosive attack,
    – partial melting because of overheating, and
    – presence of extraneous nonmetallic inclusions or unduly coarse intermetallic phases.
  • Light microscopy does not reveal precipitate particles that are responsible for precipitation hardening.
  • It does not reveal dislocation arrangements; sometimes, etching or preparation effects can be used to infer conclusions about these conditions. Generally, analysis of these conditions is in the domain of electron microscopy.

The identification of elemental or intermenallic phases is an important part of a light microscopy.

  • These phases are the consequence of equilibrium or nonequilibrium reactions and changes occurring within a given alloy because of casting conditions, mechanical working, and thermal treatment.
  • The phases are related to the equilibrium or constitution diagrams for binary, ternary, quaternary, or even more complex systems.
  • The crystal structure and compositional makeup of such phases have been determined, and means of identifying them by optical characteristics or etching behavior are known.
  • For nonstandard specimens or where some ambiguity exists, optical examinations can be supplemented or replaced by electron probe microanalysis or electron diffraction methods, which normally allow a precise identification to be made.

Examples of the usefulness of light microscopy

Fig. 17. 6063 as-cast ingot showing iron-rich phases (light) and Mg2Si (dark) in dendrite interfaces.
0,5% hydrofluoric acid, 445×.
(Courtesy of Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.)

Fig. 18. 6063 homogenized ingots showing that the Mg2Si has been solutionized,
leaving only slightly spheroidized iro-rich phases.
0,5% hydrofluoric acid, 445×.
(Courtesy of Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.)