Ali W. Aldeen, Dina Y. Mahdi, Chen Zhongwei, Imad A. Disher, Barhm Mohamad

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In this study, the effect of isothermal and isochronal aging is reported to investigate the precipitate evolution and recrystallization of N36 zirconium alloy after β-quenching. Two groups of samples were cut from the as-received sheet of N36 zirconium alloy and subjected to solution treatment and subsequent aging at 580, 640, and 700 °C for 40 and 600 min, respectively. Optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and electron backscattering diffraction (EBSD) were utilized to characterize the microstructure and second-phase particle (SPPs) evolution. Results show that the implemented quenching after solution treatment produces fine interlaced α-plates structure conserved inside prior β grain boundaries with 12 variant directions that follow Burger misorientation characteristics. After aging for a short time, initial α-plates conserve their shape and become softer, and SPPs spread along their boundaries. Recrystallizations are finished for specimens aged at a higher temperature or for a longer time. The recrystallized structure exhibits non-uniform grains and a random SPPs distribution. Despite the differences in morphology, some recrystallization grains retain the orientation feature from the initial α-plates. Hardness declines as temperature and time rise, and no hardness peak is seen. Roughness and wettability rise with increasing ageing temperatures.


N36 zirconium alloy, Aging, Second phase particles, Recrystallization

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