Currently there is a constant development in the field of aluminium alloys engineering. This results from, i.a., better understanding of the mechanisms that direct strengthening of these alloys and the role of microalloying. Now it is microalloying in aluminum alloys that is receiving a lot of attention. It affects substantially the macro- and microstructure and kinetics of phase transformation influencing the properties during production and its exploitation. 7xxx series aluminum alloys, based on the Al-Zn-Mg-Cu system, are high-strength alloys, moreover, the presence of Zr and Sr further increases their strength and improves resistance to cracking. This study aims to present the changes of the properties, depending on the alloy chemical composition and the macro- and microstructure. Therefore, the characteristics in the field of hardness, tensile strength, yield strength and elongation are shown on selected examples. Observations were made on ingot samples obtained by semi-continuous casting, in the homogenized state. Samples were prepared from aluminum alloys in accordance with PN-EN 573-3: 2013. The advantage of Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys are undoubtedly good strength, Light-weight and resistance to corrosion. As widening of the already published studies it is sought to demonstrate the repeatability of the physical parameters in the whole volume of the sample.
The article presents the investigations of 7xxx aluminium alloys performed by the method of thermal and derivational analysis. The studies made it possible to identify the effect of the changes in the Cu concentration, the total Zn and Mg weight concentrations and the Zn/Mg weight concentration ratio on their crystallization process: the cooling as well as the kinetics and dynamics of the thermal process of cooling and crystallization. Metallographic studies were performed on the microstructure of the examined alloys and their HB hardness was measured. The evaluation of the changes was presented in reference to the model alloys EN AW-7003 and EN AW-7010, whose microstructure under the conditions of thermodynamic equilibrium are described by the phase diagrams: Al-Zn-Mg and Al-Zn-Mg-Cu. The performed investigations confirmed that the hardness HB of the examined alloys is mainly determined by the reinforcement of the matrix αAl by the introduced alloy additions and the presence of phases Θ(Al2Cu) and S(Al2CuMg) rich in copper, as well as η(MgZn2), in the examined alloys' microstructure. The increase of the amount of intermetallic phases precipitated in the microstructure of the examined alloys is caused, beside Cu, by the characteristic change of Zn wt. concentration and Mg. It was proposed that the process of one-stage thermal treatment of the examined alloys be introduced at a temperature of up to tJ-20 °C, which will prevent the exceedance of the solidus temperature.