Publication date: 1993
© European Copper Institute
Industrially important copper alloy systems are discussed in terms of the relationship between their microstructure and properties and the relevant equilibrium diagram.
The study of phase transformations and microstructures is of great importance to students of metallurgy and materials science and it is essential that the equilibrium diagrams of alloy systems are understood and related to the observed microstructures. Structures have a significant effect on the mechanical and physical properties of materials and therefore their suitability for end-use applications.
There are many types of phase transformation. Good examples of most of them can be found in
the binary equilibrium diagrams of the conventional copper alloys in industrial use. The following pages describe some of these systems, highlighting the relationship between microstructure and properties.
The theory of solidification in metals and alloys is well beyond the scope of these notes and can be found in detail in metallurgical text books. For these notes it will be assumed that the student is fully conversant with the growth of crystals from the melt under non-equilibrium conditions, and with the effect of the width of the temperature range of solidification on the occurrence of coring in the dendrites. It is also assumed that the reader is familiar with the basic principles of phase diagrams and the different types of transformation which occur.
The purpose of these notes is to provide good examples of industrially useful alloys which illustrate each of the most common phase transformations.