Probing Novel Microstructural Evolution Mechanisms in Aluminum Alloys Using 4D Nanoscale Characterization

C. Shashank Kaira, V. De Andrade, Sudhanshu S. Singh, C. Kantzos, Antony Kirubanandham, F. De Carlo, Nikhilesh Chawla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Dispersions of nanoscale precipitates in metallic alloys have been known to play a key role in strengthening, by increasing their strain hardenability and providing resistance to deformation. Although these phenomena have been extensively investigated in the last century, the traditional approaches employed in the past have not rendered an authoritative microstructural understanding in such materials. The effect of the precipitates' inherent complex morphology and their 3D spatial distribution on evolution and deformation behavior have often been precluded. This study reports, for the first time, implementation of synchrotron-based hard X-ray nanotomography in Al–Cu alloys to measure kinetics of different nanoscale phases in 3D, and reveals insights behind some of the observed novel phase transformation reactions. The experimental results of the present study reconcile with coarsening models from the Lifshitz–Slyozov–Wagner theory to an unprecedented extent, thereby establishing a new paradigm for thermodynamic analysis of precipitate assemblies. Finally, this study sheds light on the possibilities for establishing new theories for dislocation–particle interactions, based on the limitations of using the Orowan equation in estimating precipitation strengthening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1703482
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number41
StatePublished - Nov 6 2017


  • aluminum alloys
  • coarsening
  • microstructural evolution
  • synchrotron tomography
  • transmission X-ray microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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