Metastable phase in binary and ternary 12-carat gold alloys at low temperature
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Low temperature phase transitions in 12-carat gold alloys have been investigated for binary Au-Cu and ternary Au-Cu-Ag compositions. The thermal analyses investigations using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and the dilatometry were performed in the 50–300 °C temperature range in order to detect the structural transformations. The thermal analyses were carried out on annealed samples at 700 °C for two hour followed by water quenching. They reveal an important new reaction for both used compositions and both thermal techniques confirm each other. This reaction has been assessed as pre-ordering reaction. SEM and STM imaging were performed on annealed samples at 700 °C for two hours and water quenched followed by a heating from room temperature up to the temperature of the new peaks obtained in the thermal study. The imaging reveals the relationship between the pre-ordering reaction and the surface aspect presented in the fact of dendrite precipitates. A series of SEM observation have been performed in order to follow the kinetic of the observed precipitates by the way of several series of heating up, from 140 to 220 °C for the binary composition and from 100 to 180 °C for the ternary composition. Furthermore, this study shows that the silver accelerates the ordering reaction.