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The lower receiver of the M16 rifle is an anodized forging of aluminum alloy 7075-T6. Degradation of the receivers was observed after three years of service in a hot, humid atmosphere. The affected areas were those in frequent contact with the user's hands. There was no question that the material failed as a result of exfoliation corrosion, so an investigation was undertaken, centered around the study of thermal treatments that would increase the exfoliation resistance and still develop the required 448 MPa (65 ksi) yield strength. The results of the study concluded that rolled bar stock should be preferred...

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