Individual/synergistic effects of Al and AlN on the microstructural evolution and creep resistance of Elektron21 alloy


The creep properties of Mg-2.85Nd-0.92Gd-0.41Zr-0.29Zn (El21) alloys with additions of 0.25 wt% Al, 0.75 wt% AlN and 1 wt% AlN/Al nanoparticles (NPs) were studied over a stress range from 80 to 140 MPa at 240 °C, respectively. The individual/synergistic roles of Al and AlN in the El21 alloy were investigated systematically to reveal their creep strengthening mechanisms. Creep results show that individually all three additions of 0.25 wt% Al, 0.75 wt% AlN and 1 wt% AlN/Al could increase the creep resistance of El21 alloy apparently. However, the addition of mixed 1 wt% AlN/Al NPs shows the best strengthening effect on creep properties in El21 alloy. Microstructural characterizations reveal that the additions of Al and AlN increased the area fraction of intermetallic particles obviously. Blocky Al2Zr, Al2Zr3 particles and Al2(Nd, Gd) (Al2RE) particulates were observed in both El21 + 0.25% Al and El21 + 0.75%AlN. Nevertheless, when Al and AlN were simultaneously added into El21 alloy the formation of these blocky phases Al2Zr/Al2Zr3 was suppressed, and a larger amount of Al2RE phase was observed. This is attributed to the preferential reaction between AlN and Zr, which restricted the formation of Al–Zr phase and subsequently promoted the reaction of Al-RE phase. The dominant mechanism during creep at 240 °C was calculated to be viscous glide of dislocation. The simultaneous additions of Al and AlN NPs could lead to a more homogeneous distribution of intermetallic particles and increase the amount of Al2RE phase. Such kind of microstructures is beneficial for hindering the dislocation movement, transfer the load from matrix and alleviate the local stress concentration. Consequently, El21 + 1% AlN/Al exhibits the best creep properties among four alloys.
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