Metallographic Etching of Aluminum and Its Alloys - PDF

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Metallographic Etching of Aluminum and Its Alloys George F. Vander Voort Buehler Ltd. Lake Bluff, Illinois USA And Elena P. Manilova Polzunov Institute St. Petersburg, Russia Preparation of Aluminum Specimens
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Metallographic Etching of Aluminum and Its Alloys George F. Vander Voort Buehler Ltd. Lake Bluff, Illinois USA And Elena P. Manilova Polzunov Institute St. Petersburg, Russia Preparation of Aluminum Specimens Grind with 240-grit SiC water-cooled paper, 240 rpm, 5 lbs. (20N) per specimen, until co-planar Polish with 9-µm Diamond on an Ultra-Pol (silk) cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 5 minutes (contra rotation) Polish with 3-µm Diamond on a Trident cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 4 minutes (contra rotation) Polish with 1-µm Diamond on a Trident cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 3 minutes (contra rotation) Polish with 0.05-µm Colloidal Silica on a Microcloth pad, 120 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 3 minutes (contra rotation) (Contra: Head and platen rotate in opposite directions) Standard Black&White Etchants for Aluminum Keller s Reagent 95 ml water, 2.5 ml HNO 3, 1.5 ml HCl, 1.0 ml HF Immerse Caustic Sodium Fluoride Etch 93 ml water, 2 g NaOH, 5 g NaF Graff-Sargent Etch 84 ml water, 15.5 ml HNO 3, 0.5 ml HF, 3 g CrO 3 Anodizing with Barker s Reagent 1.8% Fluoboric acid in water V dc, for up to 2 minutes Examine with crossed polarized light, plus a sensitive tint (first order red plate, or λ plate) to see the microstructure in color. It is good for grain size, but does not reveal alloy segregation. Examples of Anodizing with Barker s Reagent It does not reveal alloy segregation in cast alloys but does display the dendrites well. It is widely applicable for revealing grain structure in wrought alloys But, you must have a conductive path. Bright Field Polarized Light PL + Sensitive Tint 100 µm 100 µm Grain structure of wrought 1100 grade foil after electrolytic polishing and anodizing with Barker s reagent (20 V dc, 2 min), and viewed with bright field (top), polarized light (left) and with polarized light plus a sensitive tint filter (right). Note that color is not observed in bright field because an interference film is not formed using Barker s reagent. As-cast (concast) 1100 Al ( 99% Al) anodized with Barker s reagent (30 V dc, 2 min.) revealed a dendritic solidification structure. Note that no evidence of segregation is apparent. Original at 50X. Viewed with crossed polars + sensitive tint. Wrought 2024-F aluminum (Al 4.4% Cu 1.5% Mg 0.6% Mn) bar (28.5 mm diam.) showing the grain structure and intermetallics. Magnification bar is 200 µm long. Anodized with Barker s reagent (30 V dc, 2 min.). Transverse plane. Wrought 5754-F aluminum strip (Al 3.2% Mg 0.4% Mn + Cr) anodized with Barker s reagent (30 V dc, 2 min.). The strip was cold worked and annealed at 343 C (650 F) for 2 h. The grain structure is fully recrystallized. Wrought 6005 aluminum (Al 0.5% Mg 0.8% Si) anodized with Barker s reagent (20 V dc, 2 min.) revealing an equiaxed alpha grain structure. Original at 50X. Viewed with crossed polarized light plus sensitive tint. Sheared end of 6061-F (Al 1% Mg 0.6% Si 0.2% Cr 0.27% Cu) extruded rod anodized with Barker s reagent (30 V dc, 2 min.) revealing the heavily elongated grains from extruding and the compression of the sheared end. Magnification bar is 100 µm long. Wrought 7075-T74 aluminum (Al 1.6% Cu 2.5% Mg 5.6% Zn 0.23% Cr) anodized with Barker s reagent (20 V dc, 2 min.) showing highly elongated, recrystallized surface grains on a fine grained interior structure. Magnification bar is 50 µm long. Viewed with crossed polarized light plus sensitive tint. Color Tint Etching With Weck s Reagent 100 ml water 4 g KMnO 4 1 g NaOH Use at room temperature Immerse up to 20 s, or longer, until surface is colored Examples of the Use of Weck s Reagent Easier to obtain good results with castings compared to wrought grades. Easy to mix and use, not particularly dangerous. Reveals segregation very well. Grain structure can be revealed with most wrought compositions As-cast (concast) 3004 aluminum (Al 1.25% Mn 1.05% Mg) tint etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with crossed polars plus sensitive tint. Magnification bar is 50 µm long. Reveals segregation ( coring ) within the dendrites and intermetallics between the dendrites. As-cast 206 aluminum (Al 4.4% Cu 0.3% Mg 0.3% Mn) tint etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with crossed polars + sensitive tint. Magnification bar is 50 µm long. As-cast 319 aluminum (Al 6.0% Si 3.5% Cu) tint etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with crossed polarized light. Magnification bar is 100 µm long. As-cast 319 aluminum (Al 6.0% Si 3.5% Cu) tint etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with crossed polarized light. Magnification bar is 100 µm long. As-cast (concast) 1100 Al ( 99% Al) tint etched with Weck s reagent revealing a dendritic solidification structure. Note that the segregation is revealed vividly. Magnification bar is 200 µm long. Viewed with crossed polars + sensitive tint. Cast A356 Aluminum Small Permanent Mold Casting, 200X Large Permanent Mold Casting, 200X Dendritic structure and eutectic structure of A356 permanent mold castings revealed using Weck s reagent (polarized light plus sensitive tint, 200X) Cast A356 Aluminum Thixocast, 200X Thixocast and Thixoformed Microstructure of A356 made by thixocasting and by thixocasting and thixoforming revealed using Weck s reagent (viewed with polarized light and sensitive tint, 200X). Cast A356 VRC/PRC Cast structure of VRC/PRC cast A356 aluminum revealed using Weck s reagent (polarized light plus sensitive tint, 200X) Microstructure of an SSM billet of A357 aluminum etched with Weck s and viewed in bright field (200x). Dendrites of α-al and a eutectic of α-al and Si in as-cast Al 7.12% Si etched with Weck s, polarized light plus sensitive tint. Near-eutectic microstructure of as-cast Al 11.7% Si alloy etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. Hypereutectic as-cast Al 19.85% Si with proeutectic Si and a eutectic of α-al and Si etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. Al 33% Cu As-Cast Al Cu Alloys Al 45% Cu Eutectic in the Al-Cu system at 33% Cu is shown at left at 1000X. The AlCu 2 phase was colored red using 1 g ammonium molybdate, 6 g ammonium chloride and 200 ml water. Hypereutectic Al 45% Cu is shown at right at 50X. The AlCu 2 was colored blue using 1 part 3g ammonium molybdate, 20 ml HNO 3, 20 ml water to 4 parts ethanol. Surface Interior Microstructure of pressure-die cast A380 aluminum (Al 8.5% Si 3.5% Cu) etched with Weck s reagent and photographed in bright field illumination. Note that the silicon particles were colored by the reagent. The magnification bars are both 50 µm long. Poor Preparation Yields Bad Results! Example of poor etch results with Weck s when a specimen of 2519 plate was improperly prepared (polarized light plus sensitive tint). Aluminum Clad 2024 Aluminum Weck s Reagent Keller s/weck s Reagents Microstructure of Al-clad 2024 aluminum etched with Weck s tint etch (left) and with Keller s reagent followed by Weck s (right). Weck s reagent reveals the interface much better than standard reagents. Keller s reveals the grain structure. The magnification bars are both 50 µm long. Weld Base Microstructure of a friction stir weld in 2519 aluminum (Al 5.8% Cu 0.3% Mn 0.3% Mg 0.06% Ti 0.1% V 0.15% Zr) etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. Original at 100X. The magnification bar is 100 µm long. left side right side Very fine grain structure in the weld zone of the 5083-H321 friction stir weld, etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light and sensitive tint. Friction Stir Weld in 7075-T651 Weck s reagent used to reveal a friction stir weld in 7075-T651. The magnification bar is 200 µm long. Al Al 2 O 3 composite etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. Al Al 2 O 3 composite etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. 7075 aluminum containing hollow ceramic spheres, etched with Weck s and viewed with polarized light and sensitive tint. Laser Weld Nugget Base Heat Affected Zones Microstructure of a laser weld in 6061 aluminum (Al 0.6% Si 0.3% Cu 1% Mg 0.2% Cr) etched with Weck s reagent and viewed with polarized light plus sensitive tint. Original at 50X. The magnification bar is 200 µm long. Grain Size Etching Experiments Compare results from etching with Keller s, caustic sodium fluoride, Graff-Sargent and Weck s reagents using common wrought aluminium alloys. What can we do to reveal grain boundaries without going to electrolytic anodizing with Barker s reagent (or a similar formulation)? Keller s NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 200X Weck s Keller s 2011-T3 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 200X Weck s Keller s 3003 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 500X Weck s Keller s 4032-T6 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 500X Weck s Keller s 4147 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 500X Weck s Keller s 5083-H321 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 500X Weck s Keller s (longitudinal) 6013-T8 NaF-NaOH (transverse) Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 500X Weck s Keller s 6061-T6511 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 200X Weck s Keller s 6262-T9 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 200X Weck s Keller s 7075-T651 NaF-NaOH Graff-Sargent B&W Bars are 20-µm long 500X Color is 200X Weck s Alumec 89 (Al 2Cu 2.3Mg 6.3Zn 0.1Zr) Keller s Reagent Bars are 50 µm, 200X
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