During the first stages of decomposition of Al Zn alloys, spherical GP zones are observed. On further ageing of the samples, the precipitates have the shape of flat ellipsoids, the small axis of which are in the various <111> directions.
We have followed such an evolution in single crystals by small angle neutron scattering. From the asymptotic behavior of the cross section, we have calculated the size (c) of the small semiaxis of the ellipsoids. We show that c is almost independent of the initial composition of our samples (5.3, 6.8, 12.1 at Zn %), independent of the other dimensions of the “α'R” precipitates and very sharply distributed around its mean value (c = 24.5 ± 2 Å at 293°C).
The strain field in the matrix must clearly be involved in the limitation of the c value. We have studied the effect of a uniaxial  compressive stress applied during ageing. Neutron small angle experiments, carried on an Al-12.1 at % Zn single crystal show that the c value remains the same. The scattering in the  and  directions is much higher than in the  and  directions. This is mainly due to the fact that the stress favors the number of  and  type of α'R precipitates.