Aging behaviour of Al–Cu–Mg alloy–SiC composites
The age-hardening kinetics of powder metallurgy processed Al–Cu–Mg alloy and composites with 5, 15 or 25 vol.% SiC reinforcements, subjected to solution treatment at 495 °C for 0.5 h or at 504 °C for 4 h followed by aging at 191 °C, have been studied. The Al–SiC interfaces in composites show undissolved, coarse intermetallic precipitates rich in Cu, Fe, and Mg, with its extent varying with processing conditions. Examination of aging kinetics indicates that the peak-age hardness values are higher, and the time taken for peak aging is an hour longer on solutionizing at 504 °C for 4 h, due to greater solute dissolution. Contrary to the accepted view, the composites have taken longer time to peak-age than the alloy, probably due to lower vacancy concentration, large-scale interfacial segregation of alloying elements, and inadequate density of dislocations in matrix. The composite with 5 vol.% SiC with the lowest inter-particle spacing has shown the highest hardness.