Madrid, world hub of light metals

In order to significantly reduce environmental burdens, lightweight metals and alloys play an increasingly important role because of their high specific strength and stiffness, corrosion resistance, and recyclability. Among them, magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), and titanium (Ti) alloys are widely utilized to manufacture structural components in aircraft, automotive, marine, electronics, and construction industries. The worldwide push toward reduced energy consumption has pushed light-weighting technologies and research efforts related to improving Mg – the lightest of all structural metals – to the forefront.

Mg and Mg alloys are hexagonal close packed (HCP) metals, which exhibit a variety of deformation mechanisms (including slip, twinning and grain boundary sliding) dependent on the loading conditions (temperature, strain rate, etc.) as well as on the microstructure (texture, grain size, etc.) and therefore the processing. Although a great deal of progress has been made in our understanding of the deformation behavior of Mg alloys, a rigorous knowledge of the transitions leading to changes in the dominant deformation mode is still lacking along with how to control the microstructure in order to optimize the mechanical behavior.

The international Mg Workshop Madrid 2013, organized by Drs. M. Teresa Pérez-Prado, C. J. Boehlert and J. LLorca at IMDEA Materials Institute between May 21st and May 24th aimed to highlight the latest developments in the relationship between the processing, the microstructure and the mechanical behavior of Mg and its alloys. Recent advances in the deformation and recrystallization mechanisms, both from experimental and computational approaches, were presented. In particular, the beneficial effect of rare earth alloying, as well as of the use of novel processing techniques such as twin roll casting, in the formability and the ductility of these materials, became clear. Microstructures with a large density of stacking faults were shown to reach strength values as high as 600 MPa. Finally, the increasing importance of nanomechanical, in-situ and 3D techniques to reach a more fundamental understanding of the plasticity of Mg and its alloys became clear in a meeting in which, moreover, multiscale models capable of predicting macroscopic properties from atomic potentials were presented. The workshop was attended by 125 delegates of 26 countries. Selected contributions will be published in a special issue of Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A.