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Research Papers: Friction and Wear

Microstructure and Tribological Performance of Alumina–Aluminum Matrix Composites Manufactured by Enhanced Stir Casting Method

[+] Author and Article Information
Santanu Sardar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Indian Institute of Engineering
Science and Technology,
Shibpur,
Howrah 711103, West Bengal, India

Santanu Kumar Karmakar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Indian Institute of Engineering
Science and Technology,
Shibpur,
Howrah 711103, West Bengal, India
e-mails: skk@mech.iiests.ac.in;
skk.besus@gmail.com

Debdulal Das

Department of Metallurgy and
Materials Engineering,
Indian Institute of Engineering
Science and Technology,
Shibpur,
Howrah 711103, West Bengal, India

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Tribology Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received June 13, 2018; final manuscript received November 24, 2018; published online January 16, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Yi Zhu.

J. Tribol 141(4), 041602 (Jan 16, 2019) (22 pages) Paper No: TRIB-18-1230; doi: 10.1115/1.4042198 History: Received June 13, 2018; Revised November 24, 2018

Al–Zn–Mg–Cu matrix composites reinforced with (0–20 wt %) Al2O3 particles have been manufactured by enhanced stir casting technique. Microstructural characterization of cast composites by optical, field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) reveals homogeneous distribution of reinforcements in Al-alloy matrix with MgZn2 plus Al2CuMg intermetallics. With increasing particle content, hardness of composite rises considerably in spite of marginal rise in porosity. Tribological performance under two-body abrasion has been studied considering central composite design (CCD) apart from identification of mechanisms of wear via characterizations of abraded surfaces and debris. Composites exhibit significantly reduced wear rate and coefficient of friction (COF) irrespective of test conditions, since mechanisms of abrasion are observed to change from microplowing and microcutting in unreinforced alloy to mainly delamination with limited microplowing in composites. Effects of four independent factors (reinforcement content, load, abrasive grit size, and sliding distance) on wear behavior have been evaluated using response surface-based analysis of variance (ANOVA) technique. Dominant factors on both wear rate and COF are identified as reinforcement content followed by grit size and load. Combined optimization of wear rate and COF employing multiresponse optimization technique with desirability approach as well as regression models of individual responses have been developed, and their adequacies are validated by confirmatory tests. The developed mathematical models provide further insight on the complex interactions among wear performances of the selected materials and variables of abrasive system. The optimum amount of reinforcement is identified at around 15 wt % for achieving the lowest values of both wear rate and COF.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Photographs of the developed stir casing setup with bottom pouring facility, and designed multistage stirrer, mold and casting

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Fig. 2

Typical optical micrographs of as-cast (a) base alloy, (b) 10 wt %, and (c) 20 wt % Al2O3 reinforced composites. Inset in (a) shows zoomed view of the intermetallics along the interdendritic region.

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Fig. 3

((a) and (e)) FESEM micrographs and ((b)–(d) and (f)) selected EDS profiles with results of elemental analyses of (a) base alloy and (e) 20 wt % Al2O3 reinforced composite specimens. The inset in (a) represents zoomed view of intermetallics.

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Fig. 4

XRD line profiles of as-cast materials

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Fig. 5

(a) Photograph of the employed tribometer (CETR UMT), (b) zoomed view illustrating the two-body abrasive wear testing arrangement, and ((c)–(f)) showing an overview of preparing abrasive medium by pasting abrasive paper on the steel disk

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Fig. 6

Graphical representation of the CCD for k = 3

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Fig. 7

Plots of main effects for wear rate (in mm3 m−1) with respect to (a) reinforcement content (in wt %), (b) applied normal load (in N), (c) SiC abrasive grit size, and (d) sliding distance (in m)

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Fig. 8

Surface plots of wear rate (in mm3 m−1) representing the interacting effects of control factors between (a) reinforcement content (in wt % Al2O3) and load (in N), and (b) abrasive grit size and load. Only significant interacting effects are shown.

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Fig. 9

Plots of main effects COF with respect to (a) reinforcement content (in wt %), (b) applied normal load (in N), (c) SiC abrasive grit size, and (d) sliding distance (in m)

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Fig. 10

Surface plots of COF representing the interacting effects of control factors between (a) applied load (in N) and reinforcement content (in wt % Al2O3), and (b) abrasive grit size and reinforcement content. Only significant interacting effects are considered.

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Fig. 11

Experimental and predicted values of (a) wear rate (inmm3 m−1) and (b) COF

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Fig. 12

Three-dimensional surface and corresponding two-dimensional contour plots exhibiting the variations of wear rate (in mm3 m−1) and COF predicted using the developed mathematical models, i.e., Eqs. (9) and (10), respectively. ((a)–(d)) illustrating the effects of reinforcement content and abrasive grit size under a constant load of 40 N and sliding distance of 20 m. ((e)–(h)) exemplifying the influences of reinforcement content and normal load (in N) at constant abrasive grit size of 600 and sliding distance of 20 m.

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Fig. 13

Three-dimensional optical surface profiles of (a) base alloy, (b) 10, and (c) 20 wt % Al2O3 reinforced composites illustrating the influence of reinforcement content on surface topographies of abraded specimens under identical wear condition (test nos. 17, 27, and 18 in Table 4; i.e., load: 40 N, SiC grit size: 600, sliding distance: 20 m and sliding velocity: 0.5 ms−1). Fig. 13 (d) compares line profiles taken perpendicular to the sliding direction as marked by while line on the left side images indicating the variations of the deep and width of generated grooves.

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Fig. 14

FESEM micrographs illustrating the influence of reinforcement content on the characteristics of abraded surfaces of ((a) and (b)) base alloy, ((c) and (d)) 10 wt % and (e) and (f)) 20 wt % Al2O3 reinforced composite specimens generated under the load of 40 N, grit size of 400, sliding distance of 20 m and sliding velocity of 0.5 m s−1

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Fig. 15

FESEM micrographs illustrating the influence of reinforcement content on the characteristics of wear debris of ((a) and (b)) base alloy, ((c) and (d)) 10 wt % and ((e) and (f)) 20 wt % Al2O3 reinforced composites generated under the load of 40 N, grit size of 400, sliding distance of 20 m, and sliding velocity of 0.5 m s−1

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Fig. 16

((a)–(d)) FESEM micrographs and ((e) and (f)) EDS profiles with elemental analyses results illustrating the influence of abrasive grit size on characteristics of abraded surfaces in composite (10 wt % Al2O3) specimens generated against ((a) and (b)) 400 and ((c) and (d)) 800 grit sizes under normal load of 40 N, sliding distance of 20 m, and sliding velocity of 0.5 m s−1. ((e) and (f)) correspond to the EDS profiles taken from the areas marked in (c) as 1 and 2, respectively. Comparison of EDS results identify the projected regions in (c) as protruded Al2O3 reinforcing particles.

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Fig. 17

((a) and (b)) FESEM micrographs and ((c) and (d)) EDS profiles with elemental analyses results illustrating the influence of abrasive grit size on characteristics of generated wear debris in composite (10 wt % Al2O3) specimens against (a) 400 and (b) 800 grit sizes under normal load of 40 N, sliding distance of 20 m, and sliding velocity of 0.5 m s−1. ((c) and (d)) correspond to the EDS profiles taken from the areas marked in (a) as 1 and 2, respectively, identifying these as detached SiC abrasive and metallic debris, respectively.

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