The aim of this research is to link the microstructural state and the mechanical properties of an age hardening alloy during a fast heat treatment such as encountered during welding.

A coupled model between precipitation state and mechanical properties is used to predict the yield strength and hardening behavior that can be observed experimentally. The method permits the identification of the kinematic and isotropic contributions in the hardening model. The methodology is applied to a 6061-T6 aluminium alloy which is used in the Jules Horowitz reactor vessel.

The general idea of this methodology is to couple an efficient microstructural model to a mechanical one based on the dislocation theory and ad’hoc experiments. The theoretical background is based on the work of Kampmann and Wagner, known as the KWN model, to account for nucleation, growth/dissolution and coarsening of precipitates. This analysis requires transient thermo-mechanical experimental data. The efficiency of these models and their coupling are shown for a serie 6XXX aluminium alloy which contains β″ and β′ precipitates. Ultimately these models are coupled to a FEA model and allows to predict the distribution of precipitates within each element of the mesh, and subsequently its mechanical behavior.

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