Atomistic details of precipitates in lean Al–Mg–Si alloys with trace additions of Ag and Ge studied by HAADF-STEM and DFT
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Original versionPhilosophical Magazine. 2017, 97 (11), 851-866. 10.1080/14786435.2017.1281461
Bonding energies and volume misfits for alloying elements and vacancies in multicomponent Al–Mg–Si alloys have been calculated using density functional theory (DFT). A detailed atomic scale analysis has been done for characteristic precipitate structures, using high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy. Two new stacking configurations of the important strengthening phase β′′ were discovered in the Ge-added alloy. All three stacking variations were found to be energetically favourable to form from DFT calculations. The second stacking configuration, β2′′, contains vacated columns in its unit cell, consequently requiring less solute to create the same volume fraction of precipitate needles. DFT suggests a lower formation enthalpy per atom for β2′′ when Si is exchanged with Ge. In the alloy containing Ag additions, a new Q’/C-like local configuration containing Ag instead of Cu was discovered, also this phase was deemed energetically favourable from DFT.