Effect of U and Th trace additions on the precipitation strengthening of Al–0.09Sc (at.%) alloy

Ofer Beeri, Sung Il Baik*, Avraham I. Bram, Michael Shandalov, David N. Seidman, David C. Dunand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The age hardening response of Al–0.09Sc (at.%), to which trace amounts (< 100 ppm) of actinides (An = U or Th) were added, is studied by microhardness, conductivity, transmission electron microscopy, and atom probe tomography (APT). Peak-age hardening at 300 °C is associated with a high number density of nanoscale L12-Al3(Sc1 − xAnx) precipitates with core/shell structure. The first alloy Al–0.09Sc–0.006U (at.%) has a peak microhardness similar to that of binary Al–0.09Sc (at.%), but a shorter incubation period for hardening which is consistent with U diffusing faster than Sc in Al and acting as nucleant for Al3Sc. This is confirmed by APT measurements of precipitate composition, Al3(Sc0.8U0.2), showing that U has high solubility in Al3Sc precipitates and segregates at their core. The second alloy, Al–0.09Sc–0.008Th (at.%), exhibits Th-poor Al3(Sc0.98Th0.02) precipitates with Th segregation in their shells and it has microhardness evolution undistinguishable from binary Al–0.09Sc; this is indicative of low solubility of Th in L12-Al3Sc and/or low diffusivity of Th in Al. These two primordial actinides -U and Th- show different abilities to coprecipitate with Al3Sc precipitate in aluminum, they, however, both improve coarsening resistance after 143 days at 300 °C by forming core/shell structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3485-3495
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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