Real-time atomic scale imaging of nanostructural evolution in aluminum alloysReal-time atomic scale imaging of nanostructural evolution in aluminum alloys
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Electron microscopy for materials research (EMAT)
Engineering sciences. Technology
Nano letters / American Chemical Society. - Washington
14(2014):1, p. 384-389
University of Antwerp
We present a new approach to study the three-dimensional compositional and structural evolution of metal alloys during heat treatments such as commonly used for improving overall material properties. It relies on in situ heating in a high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). The approach is demonstrated using a commercial Al alloy AA2024 at 100-240 degrees C, showing in unparalleled detail where and how precipitates nucleate, grow,or dissolve. The observed size evolution of individual precipitates enables a separation between nucleation and growth phenomena, necessary for the development of refined growth models. We conclude that the in situ heating STEM approach opens a route to a much faster determination of the interplay between local compositions, heat treatments, microstructure, and mechanical properties of new alloys.