Effects of solution treatment on room temperature mechanical properties were studied in cast AZ91 (Mg-9%Al-1%Zn-0.2%Mn) and AZ91-0.5%Ca alloys. In as-cast state, the Ca addition contributed to the suppression of discontinuous β phase precipitation and the formation of Al2Ca phase. After solution treatment, the AZ91 alloy had only a small amount of Al8Mn5 particles, while β and Al2Ca phases were still present in the Ca-containing alloy. In as-cast state, the AZ91-0.5%Ca alloy showed better yield strength and hardness than the AZ91 alloy. The solution treatment increased the elongation in both alloys, which eventually led to the increase in ultimate tensile strength. The solution treatment resulted in a marked decrease in yield strength and hardness in the AZ91 alloy, whereas the decrements in those values were relatively negligible in the Ca-containing alloy due to the residual phases and solution hardening effect of Ca.
The objective of this study was to investigate the dependence of the room temperature tensile properties on the volume fraction of discontinuous precipitates (DPs) in a cast AZ91 magnesium alloy. In order to obtain various volume fractions of DPs, the solution-treated alloy was aged at 428 K for up to 48 h. The volume fraction of DPs increased from 0% to 72% with an increase in the aging time up to 24 h; for aging times longer than 24 h, discontinuous precipitation was substantially inhibited owing to the occurrence of significant continuous precipitation within the α-(Mg) grains. YS and UTS of the alloy increased with the volume fraction of DPs, whereas the elongation showed a reverse trend. A relatively rapid change in the tensile properties with increasing volume fraction of DPs up to ~40% was noted, which would be due to the reduction of the effective α grain size in response to the formation of DPs along the grain boundaries.