Under certain conditions, the application of a heat treatment can highly enhance the mechanical properties of aluminum alloys through precipitation hardening. In this review, the precipitation strengthening mechanism is described and, concurrently, an overview of the whole process is given to emphasize the important role that this operation plays in everyday technology. Additionally, this review describes new types of heat treatment that can be performed on aluminum alloys. Special attention is directed to how the chemical composition can influence the final properties of the treated alloy. Advantages and disadvantages are pointed out to provide a comprehensive view of each treatment. Special treatments for aluminum alloys, which are suitable under certain situations, are finally addressed.
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