Banhart, J.; Lay, M.D.H.; Chang, C.S.T.; Hill, A.J.: Kinetics of natural aging in Al-Mg-Si alloys studied by positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy. Physical Review B 83 (2011), p. 014101/1-13

The process of natural aging in pure ternary Al-Mg-Si alloys was studied by positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy in real time in order to clarify the sequence and kinetics of clustering and precipitation. It was found that natural aging takes place in at least five stages in these alloys, four of which were directly observed. This is interpreted as the result of complex interactions between vacancies and solute atoms or clusters. One of the early stages of positron lifetime evolution coincides with a clustering process observed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and involves the formation of a positron trap with ∼0.200 ns lifetime. In later stages, a positron trap with a higher lifetime develops in coincidence with the DSC signal of a second clustering reaction. Mg governs both the kinetics and the lifetime change in this stage. Within the first 10 min after quenching, a period of nearly constant positron lifetime was found for those Mg-rich alloys that later show an insufficient hardness response to artificial aging, the so-called “negative effect.” The various processes observed could be described by two effective activation energies that were found by varying the aging temperature from 10 to 37◦C.