The microstructure evolution in a Fe-Cu alloy with/without pre-deformation during the aging treatment is investigated numerically. The results demonstrate that although the Cu precipitates first nucleate on dislocations, the summit of the nucleation rate occurs in the matrix. Most of Cu particles situate in the matrix immediately after the nucleation. The preferential dissolution of Cu precipitates in the matrix occurs during the Ostwald repining stage, and the vast majority of the residual particles situate on dislocations in an overaged alloy.

Graphical Abstract

Formation of nano-dispersed Cu particles during aging of a Fe-Cu alloy and dislocation effect