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The β1 Triad-Related Configurations in a Mg-RE Alloy


As the building block of a honeycomb precipitate network, the triadic arrangement of β1 strengthening precipitates is technologically important for the potential development of highly tuneable nanostructure in rare-earth (RE) containing Mg alloys. In this work, we provide systematic experimental observations of those impinged β1 variants in a Mg-Nd alloy, which are directly related to the characteristic triadic configuration. It is found that the isolated α-Mg crystal in a β1 triad has a 10.5 deg rotation when it has a perfect equilateral-triangular shape. This rotation angle decreases to ~ 9.4 deg when the isolated α-Mg crystal exhibits a non-equilateral shape. In this case, one or two of its lateral interfaces include a step with a height of 0.56 nm to reduce the lattice mismatch. Furthermore, the pre-stage prior to the formation of β1 triadic configuration is revealed for the first time. It originates from the implement of two β1 variants with the same sense of shear. The presence of such two variants, in the absence of the third variant, leads to a rotation of the α-Mg crystal in the small area close to the approaching ends of these two variants. A low-angle symmetrical tilt boundary around the [0001]α rotation axis is formed between the rotated and unrotated α-Mg crystals. Most of the tilt boundaries observed in this work have a tilt angle of ~ 4.7 deg. The atomic structure of such a tilt boundary is constructed using a crystallographic model and validated by molecular dynamics simulation. The unique distribution of Nd-rich solute clusters along the tilt boundary is qualitatively discussed based on crystallographic analysis.

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The authors wish to acknowledge gratefully financial supports by the Australian Research Council and Baosteel-Australia Joint Research and Development Centre, and the access to the facilities of the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy.

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Manuscript submitted August 8, 2019.

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Zhu, Y.M., Zhang, H., Xu, S.W. et al. The β1 Triad-Related Configurations in a Mg-RE Alloy. Metall Mater Trans A 51, 1887–1896 (2020).

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