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The modified surface layers of Mg enriched with Al and Si were fabricated by thermochemical treatment. The substrate material in contact with an Al + 20 wt.% Si powder mixture was heated to 445ºC for 40 or 60 min. The microstructure of the layers was examined by OM and SEM. The chemical composition of the layer and the distribution of elements were determined by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The experimental results show that the thickness of the layer is dependent on the heating time. A much thicker layer (1 mm) was obtained when the heating time was 60 min than when it was 40 min (600 μm). Both layers had a non-homogeneous structure. In the area closest to the Mg substrate, a thin zone of a solid solution of Al in Mg was detected. It was followed by a eutectic with Mg17Al12and a solid solution of Al in Mg. The next zone was a eutectic with agglomerates of Mg2Si phase particles; this three-phase structure was the thickest. Finally, the area closest to the surface was characterized by dendrites of the Mg17Al12phase. The microhardness of the modified layer increased to 121-236 HV as compared with 33-35 HV reported for the Mg substrate.
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