Response of 7075 and 7050 aluminium alloys to high temperature pre-precipitation heat treatment
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Al-Zn-Mg-Cu (7xxx series) aluminium alloys are widely used for aircraft structures. It is difficult to obtain a combination of optimal strength and stress corrosion cracking (SCC) resistance for these alloys. It appears that SCC resistance of these alloys is related to grain boundary precipitate morphology. One technique to control the grain boundary precipitate morphology is to introduce a controlled cooling procedure referred to as High Temperature Pre-precipitation (HTPP) treatment following the solution heat treatment. There is need for a detailed study of the effect of HTPP on the properties of commercial Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys using different intermediate temperatures. In this thesis research, the results of ten HTPP processes applied to 7075 and 7050 commercial 7xxx series alloys are presented in terms of hardness, electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, TEM analysis of grain boundary precipitate morphology and EDS analysis of solute concentration profile at the grain boundary. Results indicate that subsequent to HTPP processing, the 7050 alloy can be precipitation aged to a higher hardness compared to 7075; this result is associated with the modification of 7050 alloy by zirconium versus chromium in 7075 alloy. HTPP heat treatment achieves better SCC resistance compared to standard T6 temper. However, it does not appear that HTPP can achieve a combination of hardness, electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance superior to standard T6 and T7X tempers.