The effect on the formation of vacancy-solute clusters by the addition of small percentages of Cu to Al-Zn-Mg has been studied by positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy. The results document the ability of Cu to increase the number of vacancies retained after quenching, by forming an additional population of vacancy-solute clusters in competition with pure Zn clusters. It has also been shown that Cu accelerates the decomposition of the alloy at 150°C, thereby leaving a reduced supersaturation of the matrix after an early interruption. An unexpected result is that the curve positron lifetime vs, ageing time at RT displays the symptoms of a change in the nature of the coherent aggregates that occurs in about 10 hours of RT exposure.
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