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The present work was performed on seven alloys containing in common Al–6.5 wt%Si–3.5 wt%Cu, with magnesium in the range 0.04–0.45 wt%, and strontium in the range 0–300 p.p.m. The alloys were cast in the form of tensile test bars, solution heat treated in the temperature range 480–540°C for times up to 24 h. Two types of solution heat treatment were applied: (i) single-stage, where the test bars were solution treated at a certain temperature for 12 h prior to quenching in hot water (60°C); (ii) two-stage, where the test bars were solution treated for 12 h/510°C + 12 h/T°C (T = 510, 520, 530, 540°C), followed by quenching in hot water. In the low-magnesium alloys (i.e. with Mg ∼ 0.04 wt%), melting of the Al2Cu phase commenced at 540°C. Increasing the magnesium content to ∼ 0.5 wt% reduced the incipient melting temperature of the Al5Mg8Si6Cu2 phase to 505°C. The mechanism of incipient melting and its effect on the tensile properties have been discussed in detail.