The main goal of the presented work was to determine the relationship between changes in the shape of the derivative curve and the microstructure of Zn-Al-Cu alloys before and after modification. To describe the phenomena that occur in the material during solidification as a result of the modification in the chemical composition, the thermal-derivative analysis method was applied. This method allows to describe and interpret the kinetics of crystallisation of the tested alloys. To describe the morphology and phase composition, light and electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) was also used. The modification of the hypereutectic Zn-Al-Cu alloys with the addition of Ce causes a reduction in the size α' + η eutectics and change in the morphology of the α' phase precipitates from dendritic to “tweed”.
The research focused on the influence of the solution temperature on the structure of precipitation hardening multi-component hypoeutectic aluminium alloys. The AlSi8Cu3 and AlSi6Cu4 alloys were used in the study and were subjected to a thermal-derivative analysis. The chemical composition and crystallization of phases and eutectics shift the characteristic points and the corresponding temperatures to other values, which affect to, for instance, the solution temperature. The alloys were supersaturated at 475°C (according to the determined temperature (TSol) and 505°C for 1.5 hours. Aging was performed at 180°C for 5 hours. The Rockwell hardness measurement, metallographic analysis of alloys by means of light microscopy as well as chemical and phase analysis using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography were carried out on alloys. The use of computer image analysis enabled the determination of the amount of the current Al2Cu phase in the alloys before and after heat treatment.