The elemental mixture of Mg-6 wt %Al-1 wt %Zn-0.3 wt %Mn (AZ61B) alloy powder and CaO particles was consolidated by an equal-channel angular bulk mechanical alloying (ECABMA) process to form a composite precursor. Subsequently, the precursor was subjected to a heat treatment to synthesize fine Al2
Ca particles via a solid-state reaction between the Mg–Al matrix and CaO additives. Scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and electron probe micro-analysis on the precursor indicated that 4.7-at % Al atoms formed a supersaturated solid solution in the α-Mg matrix. Transmission electron microscopy-EDS and X-ray diffraction analyses on the AZ61B composite precursor with 10-vol % CaO particles obtained by heat treatment confirmed that CaO additives were thermally decomposed in the Mg–Al alloy, and the solid-soluted Ca atoms diffused along the α-Mg grain boundaries. Al atoms also diffused to the grain boundaries because of attraction to the Ca atoms resulting from a strong reactivity between Al and Ca. As a result, needle-like (Mg,Al)2
Ca intermetallics were formed as intermediate precipitates in the initial reaction stage during the heat treatment. Finally, the precipitates were transformed into spherical Al2
Ca particles by the substitution of Al atoms for Mg atoms in (Mg,Al)2
Ca after a long heat treatment.
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