The morphology and growth kinetics of cellular precipitation and discontinuous coarsening of the cellular precipitate in an Al-29 at.% Zn alloy have been investigated at temperatures ranging from 323 to 523 K (50 to 250°C) by light microscopy, electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. At all aging temperatures the alloy was observed to decompose completely by a cellular precipitation reaction which resulted in a fine lamellar structure of aluminium rich and zinc rich solid solutions. The first cell lamellar structure was then decomposed at all aging temperatures by a second cellular or discontinuous coarsening reaction. The discontinuous coarsening reaction occurred at a much slower rate than the first cellular reaction and resulted in a much coarser lamellar structure. Lattice parameter measurements showed the aluminum rich phase in the cellular precipitate to have a composition far from equilibrium while that in the product of discontinuous coarsening was close to equilibrium. Analysis of the growth kinetics of both the cellular precipitation and the discontinuous coarsening suggested that they were controlled by grain boundary diffusivity.
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