Z. Ma

University of Québec in Chicoutimi, Saguenay, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (4)2.91 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Castings were prepared from 319.2 alloy melts, containing Fe levels of 0.2–1.0 wt%. Sr-modified (∼200 ppm) melts were also prepared for each alloy Fe level. The end-chilled refractory mold used provided directional solidification and a range of cooling rates (or dendrite arm spacings, DAS) within the same casting. Impact test samples were machined from specimen blanks sectioned from the castings at various heights above the chill end provided DASs of 23–85μm. All samples were T6-heat-treated before testing keeping with Aluminum Association recommendations. The results show that at low Fe levels and high cooling rates (0.4% Fe, 23 μm DAS), crack initiation and propagation in unmodified 319 alloys occurs through the cleavage of β-Al5FeSi platelets (rather than by their decohesion from the matrix). The morphology and the size of the platelets (individual or branched) are important in determining the direction of crack propagation. Increasing the DAS to 83μm leads to cleavage fracture. In this case, the fracture path follows a transgranular plane that is usually a well-defined crystallographic plane as judged by the relatively large smooth surfaces of the β-Al5FeSi phase platelets. Cracks also propagate through the fracture of undissolved CuAl2 or other Cu-intermetallics, as well as through fragmented Si particles. In Sr-modified 319 alloys, cracks are mostly initiated by the fragmentation or cleavage of perforated β-phase platelets, in addition to that of coarse Si particles and undissolved Cu-intermetallics.The amount of undissolved Cu- intermetallics is directly related to the applied cooling rate. Slow cooling rate (DAS ≈83µm) results in the precipitation of Cu- containing phases on the β-platelets, amplifying the likehood for crack propagation through these loacations.
    Materials and Design 05/2014; 57:366–373. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of cooling rate during solidification, heat treatment, and the addition of Mn and Sr on the formation of intermetallic phases in Al–11Si–2.5Cu–Mg alloys. Microstructures were monitored using optical microscopy and EPMA techniques. The results reveal that the volume fractions of intermetallic phases are generally much lower in the furnace-cooled samples than in the air-cooled ones due to the dissolution of the β-AlFeSi and Al2Cu phases during slow cooling at critical dissolution temperatures. Strontium additions increased the volume fraction of the Al2Cu phase in the as-cast conditions at low and high cooling rates, as well as at varying ranges of Mn levels. Platelets of the β-AlFeSi phase were to be observed in the microstructure of the as-cast air-cooled samples with a DAS of 40 μm at both Mn levels, while none of these particles were to be found in the furnace-cooled samples with a DAS of 120 μm. Sludge particles were observed in almost all of the air-cooled alloys with sludge factors of between 1.4 and 1.9. These particles, however, were not observed in the furnace-cooled alloys with similar sludge factors. Solution heat treatment coarsens the Si particles in the non-modified alloys under both sets of cooling conditions studied. In the Sr-modified alloys, solution treatment has varied effects depending on the cooling rate and the level of Mn present.
    Materials & Design. 02/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of cooling rate, heat treatment as well as additions of Mn and Sr on hardness and hardening characteristics in Al–11Si–2.5Cu–Mg alloys. The results of scanning electron microscopy reveal that the age-hardening behaviour is related to the precipitation sequence of alloy. An energy dispersive spectroscopy analysis was used to identify the precipitated phases. The results also show that the hardness of the solution heat-treated samples is higher in air-cooled alloys than in furnace-cooled ones. Furthermore, the hardness observed in solution heat-treated samples is higher than in as-cast samples for air-cooled alloys, with the highest hardness level in the non-modified alloys. The highest hardness levels among the artificially aged samples were observed in the non-modified, air-cooled alloys. These levels occur after aging for longer times at lower temperatures (e.g. 30h at 155°C). The alloys studied did not display any softening after 44h at 155°C, whereas at 180°C, softening was noted to occur after 10–15h. At short aging times of 5–10h, high hardness values may be obtained by aging at 180°C. At aging temperatures of 200°C, 220°C and 240°C, softening began after 2h had elapsed. The cooling rate during solidification does not appear to have any significant effect on the precipitation characteristics and hardness of the Sr-modified alloys at certain aging temperatures. On the other hand, the effects of cooling rate may be clearly observed in the non-modified alloys. Manganese has a minimal effect on the hardness of the aged samples as it diminishes the potential action of age-hardening, while strontium lessens the hardness of the artificially aged samples. The effect of strontium, however, is more pronounced in the air-cooled alloys than in the furnace-cooled alloys. Strontium also has a noticeable effect on the reduction of hardness in aged Mg-containing Al–Si–Cu alloys, in that it affects the precipitates containing Cu and Mg.
    Materials & Design - MATER DESIGN. 01/2010; 31(8):3791-3803.
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of β-iron intermetallics and porosity on the tensile properties in cast Al–Si–Cu and Al–Si–Mg alloys were investigated for this research study, using experimental and industrial 319.2 alloys, and industrial A356.2 alloys. The results showed that the alloy ductility and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) were subject to deterioration as a result of an increase in the size of β-iron intermetallics, most noticeable up to β-iron intermetallic lengths of ∼100μm in 319.2 alloys, or ∼70μm in A356.2 alloys. An increase in the size of the porosity was also deleterious to alloy ductility and UTS. Although tensile properties are interpreted by means of UTS vs. log elongation plots in the present study, the properties for all sample conditions were best interpreted by means of log UTS vs. log elongation plots, where the properties increased linearly between conditions of low cooling rate–high Fe and high cooling rate–low Fe. The results are explained in terms of the β-Al5FeSi platelet size and porosity values obtained.
    Materials Science and Engineering A-structural Materials Properties Microstructure and Processing - MATER SCI ENG A-STRUCT MATER. 01/2008; 490(1):36-51.