Light metal alloys based on aluminium, magnesium and titanium

Working group


University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, University of Parma, Polytechnic of Turin.


In recent years, interest in light alloys (Al-, Mg- and Ti-based) has been growing, especially in strategic sectors such as transportation and energy. Due to low density and high mechanical strength, these alloys now find many structural applications in the automotive, aerospace and biomedical fields. However, severalunsolved problems concerning formation and evolution of the hardening phases still constitute a limitation to possible applications.

The research activity at SIMAUdeals with the study of formation and growth of secondary phases responsible for the mechanical properties of alloys.The studied alloysare all heat-treatable alloys, in which the main hardening mechanism is the precipitation of secondary phases starting from a thermodynamically unstable supersaturated solid solution. In such alloys, clustering of solute atoms is the mechanism that initiates the formation of hardening phases. The initial clustering determines spatial distribution and shape of the hardening precipitates and, therefore, the final mechanical properties of the alloy.

The objectives of this research can be summarized as follows:

  • characterization of nanophases formed in the initial state of precipitation and their interactions with the crystallographic defects;
  • study of the microstructural evolution of alloys during heat treatment;
  • correlation between microstructure and macroscopic properties;
  • development of heat treatments capable of achieving a well-defined dimensional and spatial distribution of the hardening precipitates;
  • knowledge transfer to industry.