Vol.6 No.1 (January 2016)
Effect of Ytterbium on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of the Mg-Zn-Zr Magnesium Alloys
Five Mg-Zn-Zr-xYb (x = 0, 0.6, 1.2, 2.4, 4.0) magnesium alloys were prepared by using a special melting method that the pure elements were sealed in tantalum crucibles and melted in a furnace with the temperature program-controlled. The effect of the ytterbium addition in the alloys on their microsructures and mechanical properties was investigated by using the optical microscope and scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectrometer. The experimental results indicated that the grain refinement of the alloys is attained after the addition of ytterbium. Ytter-bium is also useful for the purification of grain boundary. The best grain refining effect was achieved in the alloy with the Yb addition of 2.4 wt.%. The EDS analysis suggested that the ytterbium content in the magnesium matrix is negligibly little. The added ytterbium is present almost wholy in the eutectic mixture. After the solution treatment and aging treatment, the hardness of the magnesium alloys increased. The 125˚C aging time for the magnesium alloys without ytterbium to reach the hardness peak is 10 h while those of the Yb-added magnesium alloys are shortened to be about 3 h. The alloy containing 2.4 wt.% Yb has the highest aging hardness peak.
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