Microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Mg-Zr alloys processed by selective laser melting

Joseph R. Croteau*, Seth Griffiths, Marta D. Rossell, Christian Leinenbach, Christoph Kenel, Vincent Jansen, David N Seidman, David C Dunand, Nhon Q. Vo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gas-atomized powders of two ternary alloys, Al-3.60Mg-1.18Zr and Al-3.66Mg-1.57Zr (wt.%), were densified via laser powder bed fusion. At energy densities ranging from 123 to 247 J/mm3, as-fabricated components are near-fully densified (relative density 99.2–99.9%) as verified by X-ray tomography. While Mg acts a solid-solution strengthener, Zr creates two types of metastable L12 Al3Zr precipitates, each playing dual roles: (a) sub-micrometer Al3Zr particles form in the melt upon solidification and act as grain refining agents, nucleating fine aluminum grains, which (i) prevent hot-tearing during the rapid solidification inherent to laser melting and (ii) enhance tensile strength (Hall-Petch strengthening) and ductility (influence a heterogenous grain structure) after fabrication; (b) Al3Zr nano-precipitates form in the solid alloy during subsequent aging, which (i) precipitation-strengthen the alloy leading to an increase of >40% in strength over the as-fabricated value, and (ii) promote thermal stability of the fine grain size (and the associated Hall-Petch strengthening) after exposure to high temperature due to the slow kinetics of Al3Zr coarsening (from the sluggish diffusivity of Zr in solid Al-Mg). While the Zr-richer alloy shows higher yield and ultimate tensile strength in the as-fabricated state, both alloys have identical mechanical properties after peak aging. Interconnected bands of fine (∼0.8 μm), equiaxed, isotropic grains and coarser (∼1 × 10 μm), columnar, textured grains – both containing oxide particles and Al3Zr precipitates - provide a combination of high yield strength and high ductility (e.g., ∼354 MPa, and ∼20%, respectively) with isotropic values in both as-fabricated and peak-aged samples, unlike Al-Si alloys processed via laser fusion of commercial Al-Si-based powders. The pre-alloyed, gas-atomized Al-Mg-Zr powders do not contain expensive alloying elements such as Sc, nor do they require blending with a second powder to nucleate fine grains, making them excellent candidates for economical, large-scale additive manufacturing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalActa Materialia
Volume153
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

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Powders
Melting
Mechanical properties
Microstructure
Lasers
Precipitates
Ductility
Tensile strength
3D printers
Aging of materials
Gases
Laser fusion
Rapid solidification
Ternary alloys
Crystal microstructure
Coarsening
Alloying elements
Aluminum
Oxides
Refining

Keywords

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Aluminum alloys
  • Heterogeneous grain structure
  • Selective laser melting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Croteau, J. R., Griffiths, S., Rossell, M. D., Leinenbach, C., Kenel, C., Jansen, V., ... Vo, N. Q. (2018). Microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Mg-Zr alloys processed by selective laser melting. Acta Materialia, 153, 35-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2018.04.053
Croteau, Joseph R. ; Griffiths, Seth ; Rossell, Marta D. ; Leinenbach, Christian ; Kenel, Christoph ; Jansen, Vincent ; Seidman, David N ; Dunand, David C ; Vo, Nhon Q. / Microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Mg-Zr alloys processed by selective laser melting. In: Acta Materialia. 2018 ; Vol. 153. pp. 35-44.
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abstract = "Gas-atomized powders of two ternary alloys, Al-3.60Mg-1.18Zr and Al-3.66Mg-1.57Zr (wt.{\%}), were densified via laser powder bed fusion. At energy densities ranging from 123 to 247 J/mm3, as-fabricated components are near-fully densified (relative density 99.2–99.9{\%}) as verified by X-ray tomography. While Mg acts a solid-solution strengthener, Zr creates two types of metastable L12 Al3Zr precipitates, each playing dual roles: (a) sub-micrometer Al3Zr particles form in the melt upon solidification and act as grain refining agents, nucleating fine aluminum grains, which (i) prevent hot-tearing during the rapid solidification inherent to laser melting and (ii) enhance tensile strength (Hall-Petch strengthening) and ductility (influence a heterogenous grain structure) after fabrication; (b) Al3Zr nano-precipitates form in the solid alloy during subsequent aging, which (i) precipitation-strengthen the alloy leading to an increase of >40{\%} in strength over the as-fabricated value, and (ii) promote thermal stability of the fine grain size (and the associated Hall-Petch strengthening) after exposure to high temperature due to the slow kinetics of Al3Zr coarsening (from the sluggish diffusivity of Zr in solid Al-Mg). While the Zr-richer alloy shows higher yield and ultimate tensile strength in the as-fabricated state, both alloys have identical mechanical properties after peak aging. Interconnected bands of fine (∼0.8 μm), equiaxed, isotropic grains and coarser (∼1 × 10 μm), columnar, textured grains – both containing oxide particles and Al3Zr precipitates - provide a combination of high yield strength and high ductility (e.g., ∼354 MPa, and ∼20{\%}, respectively) with isotropic values in both as-fabricated and peak-aged samples, unlike Al-Si alloys processed via laser fusion of commercial Al-Si-based powders. The pre-alloyed, gas-atomized Al-Mg-Zr powders do not contain expensive alloying elements such as Sc, nor do they require blending with a second powder to nucleate fine grains, making them excellent candidates for economical, large-scale additive manufacturing applications.",
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Microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Mg-Zr alloys processed by selective laser melting. / Croteau, Joseph R.; Griffiths, Seth; Rossell, Marta D.; Leinenbach, Christian; Kenel, Christoph; Jansen, Vincent; Seidman, David N; Dunand, David C; Vo, Nhon Q.

In: Acta Materialia, Vol. 153, 01.07.2018, p. 35-44.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Mg-Zr alloys processed by selective laser melting

AU - Croteau, Joseph R.

AU - Griffiths, Seth

AU - Rossell, Marta D.

AU - Leinenbach, Christian

AU - Kenel, Christoph

AU - Jansen, Vincent

AU - Seidman, David N

AU - Dunand, David C

AU - Vo, Nhon Q.

PY - 2018/7/1

Y1 - 2018/7/1

N2 - Gas-atomized powders of two ternary alloys, Al-3.60Mg-1.18Zr and Al-3.66Mg-1.57Zr (wt.%), were densified via laser powder bed fusion. At energy densities ranging from 123 to 247 J/mm3, as-fabricated components are near-fully densified (relative density 99.2–99.9%) as verified by X-ray tomography. While Mg acts a solid-solution strengthener, Zr creates two types of metastable L12 Al3Zr precipitates, each playing dual roles: (a) sub-micrometer Al3Zr particles form in the melt upon solidification and act as grain refining agents, nucleating fine aluminum grains, which (i) prevent hot-tearing during the rapid solidification inherent to laser melting and (ii) enhance tensile strength (Hall-Petch strengthening) and ductility (influence a heterogenous grain structure) after fabrication; (b) Al3Zr nano-precipitates form in the solid alloy during subsequent aging, which (i) precipitation-strengthen the alloy leading to an increase of >40% in strength over the as-fabricated value, and (ii) promote thermal stability of the fine grain size (and the associated Hall-Petch strengthening) after exposure to high temperature due to the slow kinetics of Al3Zr coarsening (from the sluggish diffusivity of Zr in solid Al-Mg). While the Zr-richer alloy shows higher yield and ultimate tensile strength in the as-fabricated state, both alloys have identical mechanical properties after peak aging. Interconnected bands of fine (∼0.8 μm), equiaxed, isotropic grains and coarser (∼1 × 10 μm), columnar, textured grains – both containing oxide particles and Al3Zr precipitates - provide a combination of high yield strength and high ductility (e.g., ∼354 MPa, and ∼20%, respectively) with isotropic values in both as-fabricated and peak-aged samples, unlike Al-Si alloys processed via laser fusion of commercial Al-Si-based powders. The pre-alloyed, gas-atomized Al-Mg-Zr powders do not contain expensive alloying elements such as Sc, nor do they require blending with a second powder to nucleate fine grains, making them excellent candidates for economical, large-scale additive manufacturing applications.

AB - Gas-atomized powders of two ternary alloys, Al-3.60Mg-1.18Zr and Al-3.66Mg-1.57Zr (wt.%), were densified via laser powder bed fusion. At energy densities ranging from 123 to 247 J/mm3, as-fabricated components are near-fully densified (relative density 99.2–99.9%) as verified by X-ray tomography. While Mg acts a solid-solution strengthener, Zr creates two types of metastable L12 Al3Zr precipitates, each playing dual roles: (a) sub-micrometer Al3Zr particles form in the melt upon solidification and act as grain refining agents, nucleating fine aluminum grains, which (i) prevent hot-tearing during the rapid solidification inherent to laser melting and (ii) enhance tensile strength (Hall-Petch strengthening) and ductility (influence a heterogenous grain structure) after fabrication; (b) Al3Zr nano-precipitates form in the solid alloy during subsequent aging, which (i) precipitation-strengthen the alloy leading to an increase of >40% in strength over the as-fabricated value, and (ii) promote thermal stability of the fine grain size (and the associated Hall-Petch strengthening) after exposure to high temperature due to the slow kinetics of Al3Zr coarsening (from the sluggish diffusivity of Zr in solid Al-Mg). While the Zr-richer alloy shows higher yield and ultimate tensile strength in the as-fabricated state, both alloys have identical mechanical properties after peak aging. Interconnected bands of fine (∼0.8 μm), equiaxed, isotropic grains and coarser (∼1 × 10 μm), columnar, textured grains – both containing oxide particles and Al3Zr precipitates - provide a combination of high yield strength and high ductility (e.g., ∼354 MPa, and ∼20%, respectively) with isotropic values in both as-fabricated and peak-aged samples, unlike Al-Si alloys processed via laser fusion of commercial Al-Si-based powders. The pre-alloyed, gas-atomized Al-Mg-Zr powders do not contain expensive alloying elements such as Sc, nor do they require blending with a second powder to nucleate fine grains, making them excellent candidates for economical, large-scale additive manufacturing applications.

KW - Additive manufacturing

KW - Aluminum alloys

KW - Heterogeneous grain structure

KW - Selective laser melting

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