Symposium: Phase Transformation & Deformation in Magnesium Alloys

Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 2984-2995

First online:

Effect of Precipitate Shape and Habit on Mechanical Asymmetry in Magnesium Alloys

  • Joseph D. RobsonAffiliated withManchester Materials Science Centre, University of Manchester Email author 
  • , Nicole StanfordAffiliated withCentre for Material and Fibre Innovation, Deakin University
  • , Matthew R. BarnettAffiliated withCentre for Material and Fibre Innovation, Deakin University


Asymmetric yield behavior in tension and compression is a common and usually undesirable feature of wrought magnesium alloys. To prevent yield asymmetry, it is necessary to favor slip over twinning, as it is the unidirectional nature of twinning combined with the strong textures produced in wrought magnesium alloys that produce yield asymmetry. In this article, the potential to use precipitates to strengthen selectively against twin growth is discussed. The effect of precipitate's shape and habit on strengthening of slip and twinning is calculated using simple Orowan-based models. It is shown that basal plate precipitates, although being poor strengtheners against basal slip, are good strengtheners against twin growth. This is because they produce the maximum unrelaxed back-stress when they remain unsheared inside the twin. The predictions of the model have been validated against experiments for two alloys that form different precipitate types: AZ91 (basal plates). and Z5 (c-axis rods). Crystal plasticity modeling has been used to predict that an optimized distribution of basal plate precipitates is expected to strongly reduce yield asymmetry, even in strongly textured magnesium alloy.