Solution Treatment Behaviors of 6061 Aluminum Alloy Prepared by Powder Thixoforming
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Powder thixoforming (PTF) was a promising processing technology that can be used to fabricate high strength particle reinforced aluminum matrix composites, and a pioneer 6061 matrix alloy was fabricated utilizing PTF to investigate its solution treatment behaviors. A comparison study with traditional permanent mold cast (PMC) 6061 alloy disclosed that PTF alloy showed significantly reduced pore amount with only 0.16% (3.50% for PMC alloy). During solution treatment, PTF alloy displayed a much quicker solutionization progress than PMC alloy because of coarse eutectic phases and primary dendrites in latter alloy, its peak values of 14.5%, 241 MPa and 195 MPa in elongation, ultimate tensile strength and yield strength were achieved at 560ºC, an enhancement of 81.3%, 33.9% and 97.0%, respectively, compared with as-fabricated alloy. The dissolution of eutectic phases plays a dominative role in the growth of the primary α phases and secondarily primary α phases within 535ºC. However, the coarsening after 535ºC is subject to a mixture model involving atom diffusion along grain boundaries and through the crystal lattice. The superior tensile strengths of PTF alloy than PMC alloy resulted from decreased grain size, enhanced solid solution strengthening, reduced porosities and decreased harmful effect of insoluble phases in PTF alloy.