Cavitation-resistant intergranular precipitates enhance creep performance of θ′-strengthened Al-Cu based alloys

Jovid U. Rakhmonov, Sumit Bahl, Amit Shyam, David C. Dunand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Tensile and compressive creep properties of a quaternary Al-Cu-Mn-Zr (ACMZ) alloy and its commercial counterpart (Al-Cu-Mn-Zr with Ni, Co and Sb additions, RR350) are investigated at 300°C. At low stresses up to 30 MPa where diffusional creep dominates, creep resistance is the same in tension and compression and RR350 deforms more slowly than ACMZ, consistent with RR350 alloy's larger linear fraction of intergranular precipitates (Al7Cu2(NiFe) and Al9FeNi for RR350 vs. θ-Al2Cu for ACMZ) and a reduced fraction of precipitate-free zones near grain boundaries. At stresses between 30 and 80 MPa, dislocation creep with a stress exponent n ∼ 3 becomes rate-limiting in compression, which is expected to be controlled by θ′ precipitates within the grain bulk. By contrast, in tension, enhanced creep rate and higher apparent stress exponents are measured, consistent with cavitation at intergranular precipitates becoming increasingly dominant as the stress increases. In the dislocation creep regime, RR350 alloy is again more creep resistant than ACMZ alloy, which is related to three mechanisms (i) a reduced fraction of softer precipitate-free zones, (ii) more effective load transfer to intergranular precipitates, and (iii) reduced cavitation. A model for cavitation is applied to calculate tensile creep rates from compressive creep rates and the model successfully predicts the improved tensile creep resistance of the RR350 alloy. The present investigation underscores the importance of intergranular grain boundary precipitates, in addition to strengthening θ′ precipitates, in enhancing the creep resistance of Al-Cu alloys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117788
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Apr 15 2022


  • Al-Cu alloys
  • Diffusional creep
  • Dislocation creep
  • Grain size
  • Intergranular precipitates
  • θ′ (AlCu) precipitates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Polymers and Plastics


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