Following solidification, an aluminum alloy microstructure is highly segregated. The microstructure consists of cored dendrites with various soluble and insoluble phases present in the dendritic regions. The solidification rate has a marked effect on the amount of coring that an alloy experiences. Understanding the effects of the solidification rate is important in explaining differences in microstructures. Subsequent heat treatments are performed to homogenize the microstructure. The microstructure evolution after each processing step is dependent upon the previous microstructures. The variation in local chemical composition may promote or hinder precipitation of new phases. A large volume fraction of coarse insoluble phases can lead to the occurrence of recrystallized grains via particle stimulated nucleation, while inhomogeneous solute distribution can lead to the precipitation of an uneven distribution of dispersoid phases. The effect of solidification rate and subsequent thermal treatments on the microstructure of an Al-4Cu alloy will be investigated and experimental and numerical results will be presented.

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