All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robin D Foley

Advisory Committee Members

Gregg M Janowski

James B Andrews

Derrick R Dean

Gregory B Thompson

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


The goal of this research was to understand how chemistry and processing affect the resulting microstructure and mechanical properties of high strength cast aluminum alloys. Two alloy systems were investigated including the Al-Cu-Ag and the Al-Zn-Mg-Cu systems. Processing variables included solidification under pressure (SUP) and heat treatment. This research determined the range in properties that can be achieved in BAC 100TM (Al-Cu micro-alloyed with Ag, Mn, Zr, and V) and generated sufficient property data for design purposes. Tensile, stress corrosion cracking, and fatigue testing were performed. CuAl2 and Al-Cu-Fe-Mn intermetallics were identified as the ductility limiting flaws. A solution treatment of 75 hours or longer was needed to dissolve most of the intermetallic CuAl2. The Al-Cu-Fe-Mn intermetallic was unaffected by heat treatment. These results indicate that faster cooling rates, a reduction in copper concentration and a reduction in iron concentration might increase the ductility of the alloy by decreasing the size and amount of the intermetallics that form during solidification. Six experimental Al-Zn-Mg-Cu series alloys were produced. Zinc concentrations of 8 and 12wt% and Zn/Mg ratios of 1.5 to 5.5 were tested. Copper was held constant at 0.9%. Heat treating of the alloys was optimized for maximum hardness. Al-Zn-Mg-Cu samples were solution treated at 441°C (826°F) for 4 hours before ramping to 460°C (860°F) for 75 hours and then aged at 120°C (248°F) for 75 hours. X-ray diffraction showed that the age hardening precipitates in most of these alloys was the T phase (Mg32Zn31.9Al17.1). Tensile testing of the alloys showed that the best mechanical properties were obtained in the lowest alloy condition. Chilled Al-8.2Zn-1.4Mg-0.9Cu solidified under pressure resulted in an alloy with a yield strength of 468MPa (68ksi), tensile strength of 525MPa (76ksi) and an elongation of 9%.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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