Effect of equal-channel angular pressing on ordering kinetics and twinning in an 18-carat AuCuAg alloy

The ability to modify microstructural features and the resulting properties of red gold provides an attractive potential for applications in electronics, dental devices or jewelry. In this study, the effect of severe plastic deformation by equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) on microstructural evolution in an 18-carat AuCuAg alloy, and on the ordering kinetics during subsequent aging, is investigated. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements show that the ordering process is significantly influenced by a plastically deformed microstructure and lattice defects introduced by one or two passes of ECAP. Electron backscatter diffraction and transmission electron microscopy demonstrate that the microstructural evolution during ordering, accompanied by the formation of an L10 superstructure, substantially depends on the thermo-(mechanical) history of the material: While the undeformed material clearly shows a hierarchical structure of twins on different length scales, only a few nanotwins are observed within the strongly deformed microstructures after ECAP. Moreover, after ECAP, static recrystallization is considerably suppressed during long-term annealing at elevated temperatures close to the phase transition temperature. These results clearly highlight the potential of ECAP in combination with heat treatments for microstructural optimization of AuCuAg alloys and their applications.

Source: Journal of Alloys and Compounds

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0925838823017759

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