In cast piston alloys elevated copper content is known to increase both strength and hardness, however, the presence of the resulting copper bearing phases reduces the alloys corrosion resistance. Moreover, due to increased diffusion of copper within aluminum at higher temperatures, elevated copper content can result in further alterations to the properties of the alloy. In this work, the microstructural and mechanical properties of two different copper containing Al-Si-Cu-Ni-Mg piston alloys were investigated. The formation of a copper rich phase was detected within the Al9FeNi-phase. In order to verify the microstructural observations, differential scanning calorimetry and transmission electron microscopy were used to identify the unknown phase. Furthermore, the stress levels of the alloys at different temperatures was tested by the strain rate sensitivity-test. The results showed that both alloys reached the same stress levels at different strain rates and that it is therefore conceivable to achieve the same mechanical properties with alloys of reduced copper content.
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