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Heat-induced structural changes in magnesium alloys AZ91 and AZ31 investigated by in situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction

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In situ time/temperature-resolved synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction is applied to study heat-mediated structural changes and phase transformations in rolled sheets of AZ91 and AZ31 magnesium alloys. Azimuthal diffraction intensities along the Debye–Scherrer rings (AT-plots) are used to obtain information on grain recovery and recrystallization temperatures as well as temperature-assisted grain rotations. The azimuthally integrated diffraction intensities, plotted as functions of the scattering vector (QT-plots), provide vital data on the temperature-dependent lattice parameters of the Mg/Al matrix and intermetallic precipitates, as well as on the evolution of the precipitates’ volume fraction. It was found that in AZ31, the main precipitates are of the AlMn type, which is rather stable in the investigated temperature range (up to 773 K). In contrast, in AZ91, the major intermetallic precipitates, Al12Mg17, undergo complete dissolution above 600 K. It is caused by the enhanced diffusion of Al into the Mg/Al matrix, which according to the Al–Mg phase diagram, can adopt more Al at elevated temperatures. This diffusion is revealed by the proportional diminishing of the matrix lattice parameter (chemical strain), allowing us to quantify the Al content in the matrix. Fast temperature-dependent manipulation with intermetallic content in the Mg/Al alloy can, in principle, be used for controlling its mechanical properties.

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Data availability

Synchrotron data is logged under proposal number 2013B3721, data sets #S 297 and #S 298 for specimens AZ91 and AZ31, respectively. Availability under reasonable request to KDL.


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The authors greatly appreciate the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) for granting beamtime for synchrotron diffraction experiments under proposal number 2013B3721 at beamline BL22XU at SPring-8 in Hyogo, Japan.

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Liu, X., Xu, P., Shiro, A. et al. Heat-induced structural changes in magnesium alloys AZ91 and AZ31 investigated by in situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction. J Mater Sci 57, 21446–21459 (2022).

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