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The thermal response and aging behavior of three 2XXX-series powder metallurgy aluminum alloys have been investigated, using Rockwell B hardness measurements, optical and electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive chemical analysis, in order to correlate microstructure with measured mechanical properties. Results of the thermal response study indicated that an increased solution heat treatment temperature was effective in resolutionizing large primary constituents in the alloy bearing more copper but had no apparent effect on the microconstituents of the other two. Aging studies conducted at room temperature and at 120, 150, and 180°C for times ranging up to 60 days indicated that classic aging response curves, as determined by hardness measurements, occurred at lower aging temperatures than were previously studied for these alloys, as well as at lower aging temperatures than are commonly used for ingot metallurgy alloys of similar compositions. Microstructural examination and fracture surface analysis of peak-aged tension specimens indicated that the highest tensile strengths are associated with extremely fine and homogeneous distributions of θ′ or S′ phases combined with low levels of both large constituent particles and dispersoids. Examination of the results suggest that refined solution heat treatments and lower aging temperatures may be necessary to achieve optimum mechanical properties for these 2XXX series alloys.
tensile properties, powder metallurgy, aluminum alloys, heat treatment, microstructure, fractography
Materials engineer, Langley Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Hampton, Virginia