In recent years, certain foundry processes have made it possible to obtain products with very thin parts, below the 4 mm threshold of the permanent mold casting technology. The safety margins of these castings have been reduced, and so the T6 heat treatment conditions adopted for the Al-7Si-Mg alloys need to be investigated to identify the best combination of strength and ductility. Furthermore, the cost and the production time associated with T6 heat treatment have to be optimized. In the present paper, an experimental study was carried out to optimize the solution treatment and artificial aging conditions in gravity cast thin bars of B356 aluminum alloy modified with Sr. Two solution temperatures were selected, 530 °C and 550°C, respectively, with solution times ranging from 2 to 8 h, followed by water quenching and artificial aging at 165°C with aging times from 2 to 32 h. The results of hardness and tensile tests were correlated with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis. The best combination of mechanical properties and heat treatment duration was obtained with 2-h solutionizing at 550 °C and 8-h aging at 165°C. DSC analysis showed that the alloy’s mechanical properties reach the maximum value when the β'' phase is completely developed during the artificial aging.
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