Effect of heat treatment on the mechanical strength, intergranular and exfoliation corrosion of 7075 aluminum alloy

ABSTRACT In this study, the effects of heat treatments in the peak aged (T6), overaged (T73) and retrogression and reaging (RRA, retrogression at 200 °C for 10 min) on the microstructure, mechanical strength, exfoliation corrosion and intergranular corrosion of aluminum alloy 7075, has been investigated by optical microscope, scanning electron microscopy, tensile tests, ASTM G110 tests, ASTM G34 tests, polarization curve and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The results of intergranular corrosion tests (ASTM G110) and exfoliation corrosion tests (ASTM G34), applied to the three treatments defines an order of susceptibility to corrosion given by: T6 > T73 > RRA. The trends of the corrosion resistance were further confirmed by polarization curve and EIS test. The RRA heat treatment improved the intergranular-exfoliation corrosion resistance of aluminum alloy 7075 without sacrificing the mechanical strength compared to T6 temper. The effect of heat treatment on mechanical strength and corrosion resistance is explained based on the state of precipitation in the matrix and grain boundaries.