Effect of Growth Rate on the Microstructure and Microhardness in a Directionally Solidified Al-Zn-Mg Alloy
The Al-5.5Zn-2.5Mg (wt pct) ternary alloy was prepared using a vacuum melting furnace and a casting furnace. Five samples were directionally solidified upwards at a constant temperature gradient (G = 5.5 K/mm) under different growth rates (V = 8.3-165 mu m/s) in a Bridgman-type directional solidification furnace. The primary dendrite arm spacing, lambda (1), secondary dendrite arm spacing, lambda (2), and microhardness, HV, of the samples were measured. The effects of V on lambda (1), lambda (2) and HV properties of the Al-Zn-Mg alloy were studied by microstructure analysis and mechanical characterization. Microstructure characterization of the alloys was carried out using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. From the experimental results, it is found that the lambda (1), lambda (2) values decrease, but HV values increase with the increase in V, and HV values decrease with the increase in lambda (1) and lambda (2). Dependencies of dendritic spacing and microhardness on the growth rate were determined using linear regression analysis. The growth rate, microstructure, and Hall-Petch-type relationships obtained in this work have been compared with the results of previous studies.