Journal of Materials Research


Precipitation of bcc nanocrystals in bulk Mg–Cu–Y amorphous alloys

Wenshan Liua1 and William L. Johnsona1

a1 W. M. Keck Laboratory of Engineering, 138–78, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125


Coexistent amorphous and nanoscale bcc-Mg7Li3 phases were found in slowly quenched alloys of the Mg65–xLixCu25Y10 system containing 3 to 15 at. % Li. The crystallization behavior of these alloys has been studied. The grain size of the nanocrystalline bcc phase which is formed ranges from 2 to 20 nm. The volume fraction of nanocrystalline phases as well as the grain size of the nanocrystals increase as the Li composition increases. Transmission electron microscopy studies suggest that the alloy exhibits phase separation in the undercooled liquid state and that the nucleation and growth of the bcc-nanocrystals is related to the phase separation. Some characteristic thermal properties of the glassy phase are presented, and the composition dependence of Tg and Tx is discussed. It is concluded that the addition of a small amount of Li is essential for the production of a bcc nanocrystalline phase in the Mg–Li–Cu–Y system.

(Received August 17 1995)

(Accepted May 09 1996)