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Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382

Dynamic recrystallization of Mg and MgY alloys:

Crystallographic texture development
R. Cottam a, , J. Robson a , G. Lorimer a , B. Davis b

School of Materials, Materials Science Centre, The University of Manchester, Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HS, United Kingdom
b Magnesium Elektron Ltd., PO Box 23, Rake Lane, Swinton, Manchester M27 0D, United Kingdom
Received 21 June 2007; received in revised form 30 July 2007; accepted 11 August 2007

Pure magnesium and three binary MgY alloys (0.23, 0.84 and 2.71 wt%Y) have been deformed in plane strain compression under conditions
where dynamic recrystallization (DRX) is observed. The development of crystallographic texture during deformation has been determined for both
the parent and DRX grains. In all but the highest Y alloy, the texture of the DRX grains was found to follow that of the parent grains closely in
all alloys, implying that the DRX texture is dominated by the deformation conditions, rather than preferred nucleation or growth. In the highest Y
alloy, the DRX texture is randomized, which also suggests that preferred nucleation or growth is not responsible for texture formation in this alloy.
A transition in macrotexture development was observed in going from pure Mg deformed at 250 C, to Mg2.71 wt%Y deformed at 450 C. This
can be attributed to activation of additional slip modes, and a concomitant decrease in the contribution of twinning to deformation.
2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Dynamic recrystallization; Magnesium; Texture; EBSD

1. Introduction
Improving the poor low temperature formability of magnesium alloys has been the focus of renewed research efforts in
recent years, driven by a need for light weighting in the transportation sector. Low temperature formability of magnesium is
limited by the plastic anisotropy of individual grains of magnesium [13], such that deformation of a polycrystal results in
generation of incompatibility stresses between grains that cause
premature failure [3,4]. However, it has also been shown that
by using non-conventional processing methods, such as equal
channel angular extrusion, and producing a combination of a
favourable texture and fine grain size, greatly improved tensile
ductilities can be obtained [5,6].
Current research is focussed on obtaining the desired
microstructure and texture utilizing conventional methods combined with alloy and process optimization. To do this, it is
essential to have a fundamental understanding of the processes
that influence the final texture and grain structure in deformed
magnesium alloys. Dynamic recrystallization (DRX) is one such

Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1613063588; fax: +44 1613063586.

E-mail address: (R. Cottam).

0921-5093/$ see front matter 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

process that is commonly observed during elevated temperature

deformation of magnesium and its alloys. DRX in magnesium
has been the focus of several studies [711] aimed at understanding the fundamental DRX mechanisms. Little work has
yet been done to investigate the effect of DRX on the overall
texture evolution or the effect of changes in solute content on
DRX. The focus of this paper is on the global (average) texture
that results from DRX, and the effect of yttrium additions on this
texture development. Yttrium has been used in this study since
it is known to alter the relative activity of the deformation modes
(slip and twinning) in magnesium alloys [12]. One goal of this
work was to investigate whether this effect has an influence on
the texture of DRX grains that is distinct from that of the original
(parent) grains and might thus be exploited for texture control.
Studies of texture development during deformation in magnesium alloys under conditions of DRX are limited. Ion et al.
[10] and Xiong and Davies [11] have addressed texture evolution of MgAl and AZ31 alloys, respectively, in both cases
finding that the DRX grains adopted the basal texture of the parent grains. Xiong and Davies also evaluated the effect of strain
path changes, but again found the basal texture dominant in the
DRX grains.
Current understanding of texture evolution during DRX has
been developed largely for cubic metals [13,14] undergoing


R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382

conventional DRX. In such cases, strain induced boundary migration (SIBM) acts as a precursor to formation of
DRX grains. However, in magnesium and its alloys, it is
accepted that a number of other DRX mechanisms operate,
such as continuous rotational DRX [10], which are quite different from the conventional mechanism observed in cubic
crystals. By changing deformation conditions, it is possible
to change the dominant DRX mechanism (e.g. from rotation
recrystallization at lower temperatures to SIBM at higher temperature [7]). The textures that result from the combinations of
DRX mechanisms that operate in magnesium are not yet well
By varying deformation temperature and solute yttrium, this
study aims to determine the texture evolution during DRX
of magnesium alloys across a range of conditions where the
DRX mechanism and relative deformation system activity are
expected to change.

levels, an increased in deformation temperature was needed to

obtain DRX. The test temperatures used are shown in Table 1.
For each condition, samples were compressed to logarithmic
strains of 0.1, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9. Channel 5 EBSD post-processing
software was used to create subsets of texture data, based on
grain size. A threshold size was determined by examining the
grain size histogram after deformation and determining the grain
size that divided the DRX grains from the parent grains. The
transition size was chosen by first selecting a size just above the
peak in the grain size histogram due to the DRX grains. This
size was verified by identifying automatically all grains below
this size and checking whether all of the DRX grains, but none
of the parent grains, had been captured. It was apparent from the
Euler maps that DRX grains do not undergo further DRX.
3. Results
3.1. Extruded billet characterization

2. Experimental
Three binary MgY alloys and commercially pure Mg were
prepared by Magnesium Elektron at the Manchester site with
compositions showing in Table 1. Impurity elements Zn, Si,
Cu, Mn and Fe were all below 0.01 wt%. The alloys were produced as billets 7.5 cm diameter, solution treated at 525 C for
8 h and extruded into 3 cm diameter bar at 390 C. The initial
textures of the extruded billets were measured by EBSD using
a Philips XL30 FEG SEM with a working distance of 20 mm
and an accelerating voltage of 20 kV. Samples were prepared
for EBSD by grinding and mechanically polishing to colloidal
silica and then electro-polishing in a solution of 30% nitric acid
and ethanol solution, chilled to 30 C, using a 12 V potential.
The extruded grain size was determined using the linear intercept
Channel die samples 10 mm 11 mm 12 mm were cut
from the bar with the compression direction parallel to the extrusion direction. The samples were coated in powdered graphite
which acted as a lubricant during the deformation. An initial strain rate of 1 103 s1 was employed to deform the
To obtain statistically useful texture data, it was necessary
to choose deformation conditions that led to a significant fraction of DRX. Adding yttrium suppresses DRX, requiring higher
deformation temperatures to achieve comparable DRX fractions. Therefore, it was not possible to vary the yttrium content
and deformation temperature independently across the full composition range studied, since when yttrium was added at high

After extrusion, Mg had a mean grain size of 57 m,

Mg0.23 wt%Y 51 m, Mg0.84 wt%Y 24 m and
Mg2.71 wt%Y 21 m. In pure magnesium and all three
alloys the grain structure was fully dynamically recrystallized
during extrusion.
All the materials show a typical extruded magnesium texture
[15] where the basal poles are radially distributed perpendicular
to the extrusion axis (Fig. 1). Increasing the yttrium concentration from 0.23 to 2.71 wt%Y not only refines the grain structure
of the material during dynamic recrystallization (DRX) that
occurred during extrusion but also weakened the extruded texture.
3.2. Mechanical testing
The true stresslogarithmic strain response during channel
die deformation is shown in Fig. 2. All curves initially show
hardening followed by a region of steady state deformation and
then some secondary hardening up to the highest true strain used
in the test (0.9). As expected, the addition of yttrium strengthens
the material, even at the higher test temperatures used.
It is notable that in both the pure magnesium and alloy
specimens there is little evidence of the strain softening that

Table 1
Test temperatures used during channel die compression of pure magnesium and
the three MgY alloys

( C)

Mg0.23 wt%Y
Mg0.84 wt%Y
Mg2.71 wt%Y




Fig. 1. Inverse pole figures for extruded magnesium alloys where the scale
is times random: (a) Mg, (b) Mg0.23 wt%Y, (c) Mg0.84 wt%Y and (d)
Mg2.71 wt%Y.

R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382


3.3. Optical micrographs after deformation

Fig. 2. True stresslogarithmic strain response for the three MgY alloys and
pure magnesium.

often accompanies dynamic recrystallization [16] (Fig. 2).

However, this softening is also in competition with hardening associated with dislocation accumulation, twin formation
(HallPetch effect) and texture changes. For the initial texture and deformation conditions employed here, this offsets
the softening due to DRX, and gives the flat response
observed in the stressstrain curve. Once DRX has refined
the grain structure and twinning has reoriented the material (into a hard orientation; c-axis compression), work and
texture hardening begin again to dominate the stressstrain
response and the strain hardening exponent increases (secondary

Optical microscopy was performed to investigate the occurrence of deformation twins in the microstructure after the initial
deformation (Fig. 3). Since the compression axis was along
the extrusion direction, the majority of grains have their c-axes
near perpendicular to the compression direction at the start of
testing, a favourable orientation for formation of the {1 0 1 2}
c-axis tension twin. The presence of deformation twins can
be found in the pure Mg at all deformation temperatures and
in the Mg0.23 wt%Y alloy (Fig. 3). In the Mg0.84 wt%Y
alloy the microstructure shows small deformation twins, but
these only occur in less than half of the grains. This alloy and
deformation temperature therefore appears to produce a mixed
(transition) mode of deformation, involving some twinning but
also enhanced slip (most likely due to activation non-basal
c + a slip). The Mg2.71 wt% Y alloy shows no evidence of
3.4. Euler maps of initial DRX
Local microtexture EBSD maps, showing regions containing
a mixture of parent and DRX grains are shown in Fig. 4. The
superimposed unit cells illustrate the orientation of each grain.
From these examples, it is clear that the orientation of the DRX
grains are generally similar of that of the original grains. It can

Fig. 3. Optical micrographs after channel die compression: (a) pure magnesium compressed to a logarithmic strain of 0.1 at 250 C; (b) Mg0.23 wt%Y compressed
to a logarithmic strain of 0.1 at 250 C; (c) Mg0.84 wt%Y compressed to a logarithmic strain of 0.1 at 400 C; (d) Mg2.71 wt%Y compressed to a logarithmic
strain of 0.3 at 450 C.


R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382

Fig. 4. Euler maps after PSC to a true strain of 0.3: (a) pure magnesium deformed at 250 C; (b) Mg0.23 wt%Y deformed at 250 C; (c) Mg0.84 wt%Y deformed
at 400 C; (d) Mg2.71 wt%Y deformed at 450 C. Grains labelled P are the parent grains.

also be seen that the orientation of neighbouring DRX grains can

be quite different, showing different angles and axes of rotation
from the parent grain. This will be discussed in detail in a future
Pole figures {0 0 0 2} for the pure magnesium deformed at
different temperatures are shown in Fig. 5. Rather than plotting intensity contours, the position of individual measurement
points is shown. This is done to identify whether any new orientations are created during DRX, to characterize the orientation
spread of poles and to identify regions for which orientations
are absent. As discussed already, pole figures for DRX and
parent grains are plotted separately, with the two-grain classes
distinguished on the basis of their size.
Fig. 6 shows the evolution of the {0 0 0 2} pole figures for the
yttrium containing alloys with increasing strain. Again, data for
the DRX and parent grains are plotted separately. Fig. 7 shows
{0 0 0 2} pole figures for the final texture (after compression
to a logrithmic strain of 0.9). In this case, intensity contours
are shown to give an indication of the sharpness of the final
4. Discussion of results
4.1. The development of texture with strain and
temperature for pure Mg
In the pure magnesium, distinct differences can be observed
in the texture evolution at the three test temperatures. These

differences can be largely attributed to changes in the relative

contribution of twinning and slip to deformation. Formation of
the common {1 0 1 2} c-axis tension twin will lead to rapid reorientation of the {0 0 0 2} pole towards the ND, whereas basal slip
will lead to a progressive rotation of the {0 0 0 2} poles from the
TDRD plane to the ND.
The high concentration of {0 0 0 2} poles oriented close to
the ND after deformation to a strain of 0.3 at 200 C is indicative of the high level of twinning that has already occurred under
these conditions. As the deformation temperature is increased
(at a strain of 0.3), an increasingly pronounced ring type texture forms, with an absence of poles aligned in the ND. The
ring texture most probably arises from partial rotation of the
basal poles towards the ND by basal slip, with the markedly
reduced intensity of poles around the ND reflecting the sharp
reduction in twin formation with increasing deformation temperature [17]. For the highest deformation temperature and strain
(300 C, 0.6), rotation of the basal poles towards the ND by slip
is, as expected, most advanced, and a (reoriented) basal texture is
Of most interest in this work is the comparison of the orientations of the parent and DRX grains. It is clear from Fig. 5
that in pure magnesium, the orientation distribution of the DRX
grains is similar to that of the parent grains. On a local level
it has been shown by Galiyev et al. [8] that under the conditions used in this study, DRX in pure magnesium occurs largely
by a continuous rotation mechanism. What the present result
shows is that although any given DRX grain is rotating away

R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382


Fig. 5. {0 0 0 2} pole figures generated form EBSD Euler maps for pure magnesium where the horizontal axis is the rolling direction and the vertical is the transverse

from its parent grain, the development of its orientation is dominated by the macroscopic plastic strain imposed, and thus no
special new orientations are created by DRX. In other words,
although each DRX grain may rotate away from its neighbour
during deformation, taken globally these rotations follow those
of the parent grains, This confirms on a microtexture scale the
conclusions of Kawalla et al. [18] and Al-Samman and Gottstein
[19] who performed bulk texture analysis of uniaxial compression at increasing strain intervals and found similar behaviour.
This conclusion is supported by recent texture modelling work
applied to equal channel angular extrusion at elevated temperature [20]. This shows that even when DRX is ignored, prediction
of final textures is good. The results presented here suggest that
the average response of the DRX grains to deformation follows
that of the parent grains.
4.2. The effect of yttrium on texture development
As with an increase in temperature for pure magnesium, the
combined increase in yttrium and deformation temperature used

in this study leads to a transition in deformation behaviour and

texture development. Unfortunately, despite taking care to sample a large number of grains (over 6000), in some cases (as shown
in Fig. 6d, f and h in particular) it is clear that orientations that
should be present from a consideration of symmetry have not
been detected. Despite this limitation, the data are adequate to
draw qualitative conclusions about the influence of yttrium on
the texture evolution of the parent and DRX grains.
Fig. 7 shows that the final texture after deformation to a strain
of 0.9 is similar for the pure magnesium and Mg0.23 wt%Y
deformed at 250 and 300 C. The most notable difference in textures is after deformation at 250 C, where the Mg0.23 wt%Y
shows a basal, rather than split basal texture, as observed in the
pure Mg and the Mg0.23 wt%Y deformed at 300 C. The reason for this difference is not yet clear, but may be due to the
observed change in the fraction and scale of twins with yttrium
(Fig. 3).
The 0.23 and 0.84 wt%Y alloys show similar behaviour with
respect to the relationship between DRX and parent grain orientations. As in the case of pure Mg, in these alloys, the DRX


R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382

Fig. 6. {0 0 0 2} pole figures generated form EBSD Euler maps for the three MgY alloys compressed in plane strain compression at elevated temperature. The
horizontal axis is the rolling direction and the vertical is the transverse direction.

and parent grains show similar orientation distributions, with

evidence that the spread of orientations in the DRX grains is
slightly greater than in the parent grains. This is in contrast to
pure Mg, where a similar spread in orientation is observed. DRX
in these alloys randomizes the texture. The final texture observed
in the 0.84 wt%Y alloy (Fig. 7) is relatively weak, and represents
a transition in behaviour from the macroscopic textures observed
in the both the pure Mg and Mg0.23 wt%Y to that observed in
the Mg2.71 wt%Y alloy.
Increasing the addition of Y to 2.71 wt%Y and the deformation temperature to 400 C results in a change in the texture
formation of both the parent and DRX grains. This change in
behaviour can most likely be attributed to a reduction in the
relative critical resolved shear stress (CRSS) for c + a slip compared to basal slip and twinning deformation modes. The initial
texture of the extruded material was relatively weak in this alloy,
and this makes interpretation of the results for low strain defor-

mation difficult. However, once a logarithmic strain of 0.6 is

reached, it can be seen that a strikingly different texture has
developed, and this is reflected in the final texture intensity. In
addition, the DRX grains show a different, and far more random
distribution of orientations than the parent grains.
The randomization of texture has been observed after the
static recrystallization of MgY containing alloy [21]. In this
work, it was argued that shear banding formed random nuclei,
which during recrystallization led to the random texture. However, this does not explain the results seen here, where DRX
grains were found to form at grain boundaries, not shear bands,
and are also subject to extensive deformation after forming. The
most likely explanation comes form the effect of adding yttrium
on the mechanism of DRX, which will be discussed in a future
paper. It should also be noted that while the initial DRX texture
is random, the macroscopic texture after deformation to 0.9 logarithmic strain is quite strong. This suggests that when the DRX

R. Cottam et al. / Materials Science and Engineering A 485 (2008) 375382


Fig. 7. Pole figures after channel die deformation to a logarithmic strain of 0.9 for the alloys and pure Mg at a range of temperatures.

grains initially form in this alloy they do not have a strong preferred orientation, but subsequent deformation causes them to
rotate towards the TD, hence producing the strong final texture.
A relatively random texture has also been observed after
deformation of AZ61 at elevated temperatures [22], under conditions where extensive DRX occurred. The origins of this texture
were not given but, as in this work, it was noted that the randomization process occurred only with higher solute levels, which
again points to the influence of solute in randomizing the DRX

the DRX grains, rather than special conditions of nucleation or

The addition of yttrium at low levels (0.23 wt%) appears
to slightly randomize the texture of the DRX grains compared
to that in pure magnesium deformed at the same temperature.
This effect is also observed in Mg0.84 wt%Y alloy deformed
at higher temperature. Addition of higher levels of yttrium
(2.71 wt%) combined with a higher deformation temperature
lead to a change in behaviour, with a near random distribution of
DRX grains being in contrast to strongly textured parent grains.

5. Conclusions


In this study, the evolution of texture of DRX and parent

grains was studied for pure magnesium at a range of temperatures, and binary magnesiumyttrium alloys at temperatures
where extensive DRX occurs. As yttrium suppresses dynamic
recrystallization, it was necessary to deform the high yttrium
containing alloys at higher temperatures to obtain comparable
DRX fractions.
Increasing deformation temperature and yttrium content had
the effect of reducing the importance of twinning as a deformation mode and increasing the activity of non-basal slip modes.
This was reflected in the texture evolution. In pure magnesium
and Mg0.23 wt%Y, basal or split basal textures were observed.
In Mg2.71 wt%Y, a completely different texture was seen, with
basal poles aligned in the TD and RD. In the Mg0.84 wt%Y
alloy a transition texture between these extremes was observed.
It has been shown that in pure magnesium, the texture of
the DRX grains followed closely that of the parent grains, i.e.
it is the deformation conditions that determine the texture of

This work has been carried out as part as part of the Light
Alloys Portfolio Partnership EPSRC grant EP/C002210/1. The
authors would like to thank Magnesium Elektron for their financial and technical support, Mr. Michael Faulkner for his technical
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