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Studies on Mechanical Properties of Al6063-SiC Composites

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G.R.C. Pradeep, 2A. Ramesh, 3G.B. Veeresh Kumar

Associate Professor, Dept of Mech Engg, Sri Venkateswara Institute of Technology,Rapthudu Bypass, Anantapur 515 001, India 2 Principal, Gates Institute of Technology,Gootyanantapuram (Vill), Gooty, Anantapur, A.P., India 3 Assistant Professor, Dept of Mech Engg, S B M Jain College of Engineering, Jain University, Kanakapura Tq,

Abstract In recent times the application of Aluminium Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs) as engineering materials has exceedingly increased in almost all industrial sectors. Aluminum MMCs are preferred to other conventional materials in the fields of aerospace, automotive and marine applications owing to their improved properties like high strength to weight ratio, good wear resistance etc. These materials are of much interest to the researchers from past few decades. In this paper it is aimed to present the research findings of Al6063SiC particulate metal matrix composites prepared by liquid metallurgy route (stir casting technique). The amount of reinforcement is varied from 0 to 9 wt. %. The SiC particulates were dispersed the in steps of 3 into the Al6063 alloy. The prepared composites are subjected to the mechanical testing as per the ASTM standards. The Brinells hardness of the composite was found to increase with increase in filler content in the composite. The tensile strength of the composites was also found to increase confirming the enhancement of the mechanical properties. Key words Al6063, SiC, composites, hardness, tensile strength, mechanical properties

I. INTRODUCTION Metal matrix composites are of wide interest owing to their high strength, fracture toughness and stiffness. Among the various MMCs used in industry, the composite consisting of Al6061 matrix alloy reinforced with SiC has found wide application [1]. In the investigation of wear behaviour of Al6061 alloy filled with short fiber (Saffil) it was concluded that Saffil reinforcement are significant in improving wear resistance of the composites[2]. Self-lubricating graphite was incorporated in Al6061 alloy to prepare composites [3]. Al2O3, B4C, Ti3Al, and B2Ti in Al6061, were used to show that Mechanically Mixed Layers (MML) are generated during sliding wear condition [4]. Transition from mild to severe wear was noticed when the surface temperature reaches about 0.4 times the melting temperature of Al6061 alloy [5]. In pin-ondisc test a mechanically mixed layer (MML) six times harder than the bulk material is produced. This layer is responsible for reduction in wear rate of MMCs [6]. Friction coefficient value of the composite was also found to increase due to the presence of hard MML layer and plastic deformation of the steel disc during sliding [7]. The light metals such as Al and its alloys form superior composites suitable for elevated temperature applications when reinforced with ceramic particulates [8]. It was found that the matrix hardness has a strong influence on the dry sliding wear behaviour of Al2O3 particulate Al6061 MMC [9]. In the investigation on the tribological behavior on Al6061 reinforced with Al2O3 particles it was concluded that a characteristic physical mechanism exists during the wear process [10]. When a sufficiently high load is applied on the contact, the matrix phase is plastically deformed, and the strain is partially transferred to the particulates, which are brittle with small failure strains. It was clearly demonstrated that the effects of applied load and temperature on the dry sliding wear behavior of Al6061 alloy matrix composites reinforced with SiC whiskers or SiC particulates and concluded that, the wear rate decreased as the applied load is increased [11].

At higher normal loads (60N), severe wear and silicon carbide particles (SiC) cracking and seizure of the composite was observed in pin-on-disc test during dry sliding wear of Al2219 alloy MMCs [12]. MMCs having SiC of 3.5, 10 and 20 m size with 15 vol. %, produced by P/M route displayed good wear resistance with increasing particle size in sliding wear [13]. Sliding distance has the highest effect on the dry sliding wear of MMCs compared to load and sliding speed [14]. Addition of 20% reinforcements increases the wear resistance of the composites, but beyond that no improvement was observed [15]. The above literature reveals that very little information is available regarding the mechanical behaviour of the composites with MMCs of Al6063 reinforced with SiC particulates. Hence the present paper describes the mechanical behavior of SiC filled Al6063 metal matrix composites. II. EXPERIMENTAL DETAILS The following section highlights the material, its properties and methods of composite preparation and testing. A. Materials used The matrix material for the present study is Al6063. Table I gives the chemical composition of Al6063. Table II gives the details of the physical and mechanical properties of Al6063. The reinforcing material selected was SiC of particle size of 15 m. Table III gives the details of the physical and mechanical properties of SiC.
TABLE I CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF AL6063 BY WT%

Si 0.6 Cr 0.1

Fe 0.3 Zn 0.1

Cu 0.1 Ti 0.1

Mn 0.1 Al Bal

Mg 0.8

Published in International Journal of Advanced Engineering & Application, Jan 2011 Issue

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TABLE II PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF AL6063 AND SIC

Elastic Modulus (Gpa) 69.5

Density (g/cc) 2.7

Hardness (HV) 25

Tensile Strength (Mpa) 100

rates. This increase in hardness of the composite may be due to the reason the reinforcement material is much harder than that of the matrix material and it is also due to the good bonding between the matrix and reinforcement materials [17]. C. Tensile Strength From the study of Fig. 2 it can be seen that the tensile strength increases with increasing percentage of SiC. From the figure, it can be observed that the tensile strength of the composites is higher than that of the matrix alloy. Further, from the graph, the trends of the tensile strength can be found to be increased with increase in SiC content in the composites. This improvement in tensile strength of the composites may be attributed to the fact that the filler SiC possesses higher strength and also may be due to the better bonding strength due lower fineness of dispersed particulates. The similar results were obtained when the Aluminium alloy was reinforced with ceramic particulates [4, 16, and 18]. D. Percentage elongation Further it can be seen from fig. 3 that the percentage elongation is decreasesing with the increasing percentage of SiC content. This is due to the higher brittleness of the reinforcing material. Hence from the fig 3 it is clear that the composite material is becoming more and more brittle as the SiC content is increasing in the matrix material, in other words the matrix material is losing its ductility due to the influence of the reinforcement material. E. Compressive Strength From the study of Fig. 4 it can be seen that the compressive strength increases with increasing percentage of SiC. From the figure, it can be observed that the compressive strength of the composites is higher than that of the matrix alloy. Further, from the graph, the trends of the compressive strength can be found to be increased with increase in SiC content in the composites.

TABLE III PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF SIC

Elastic Modulus (Gpa) 410

Density (g/cc) 3.1

Hardness (HB500) 2800

Compressive Strength (Mpa) 3900

B. Preparation of composites The liquid metallurgy route (stir casting technique) has been adopted to prepare the cast composites as described below. Preheated SiC powder of laboratory grade purity of particle size 15 m was introduced into the vortex of the molten alloy after effective degassing. Mechanical stirring of the molten alloy for duration of 10 min was achieved by using ceramic-coated steel impeller. A speed of 400 rpm was maintained. A pouring temperature of 7300C was adopted and the molten composite was poured into cast iron moulds. The extent of incorporation of SiC in the matrix alloy was varied from 0 to 9 wt% in the steps of 3. Thus composites containing particles 0 to 9 wt % were obtained in the form of cylinders of diameter 22mm and length 210mm. C. Testing of composites The cast composites were machined and the specimens for the measurement of hardness as well as for mechanical behavior were prepared as per ASTM standards. Brinells hardness tester was used to measure the Hardness of the composites. The mechanical properties were evaluated using Akash make computerized universal testing machine of 40-ton capacity. III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS The test results of Al6063 and its composites containing SiC at various weight percentages are presented in these sections. A. Effect of SiC on the mechanical properties The mechanical properties such as hardness, tensile strength, elongation and compressive strength property test results of Al6063 and its composites containing SiC at various weight percentages are presented in these sections. B. Hardness The change in the hardness of composites with increased content of reinforcement shown in Fig. 1 represents the variation in hardness evaluated at a load of 500kg with increasing percentage of SiC in Al6063. It is observed that the hardness of Al6063 composites increases with increased content of the SiC reinforcement. Improved hardness results in decrease in wear rate [16]. Finer the grain size better is the hardness and strength of composites leading to lowering of wear

Variation in Hardness
55 50

Hardness BHN

45 40 35 30 25 0 1 2 3 4 5

% SiC in Al6063

Fig. 1. Variation in the hardness with different wt% of SiC

Published in International Journal of Advanced Engineering & Application, Jan 2011 Issue

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Variation in Tensile Strength


Tensile Strength (N/mm2)
110 100 90 80 70 60 50 0 1 2 3 4 5

The tensile strength of the composites found increasing with increased reinforcements in the composites. The percentage elongation of the composite material is found decreasing with the increase in the percentage SiC content. The compressive strength of the composites found increasing with increased reinforcements in the composites.
REFERENCES [1] Jogi, B. F., Brahmankara, P. K., Nandab, V. S. and Prasad R. C., -Some studies on fatigue crack growth rate of aluminum alloy 6061, Journal of material processing Technology, 201(1-3), (2008), pp 380384. [2] How, H.C., Baker, T.N., -- Dry sliding wear behaviour of Saffilreinforced AA6061 composites, Wear, 210, (1997), pp 263-272. [3] Jen Fin Lin, Ming Guu Shih, Yih Wei Chen, -- The tribological performance of 6061 aluminum alloy / graphite composite materials in oil lubricants with EP additives, Wear, 198, (1996), pp 58-70. [4] Rosenberger, M.R., Schvezov, C.E., Forlerer, E., -- Wear of different aluminum matrix composites under conditions that generate a mechanically mixed layer, Wear, 259, (2005), pp 590601. [5] Zhang, J. and Alpas, A. T., -- Transition between mild and severe wear in aluminium alloys, Acta Mateilia., 45(2), (1997), pp 513-528. [6] Venkataraman, B. and Sundararajan, G., -- The sliding wear behavior of Al-SiC particulate composites-II. The characterization of subsurface deformation and correlation with wear behavior, Acta Materilia, 44(2), (1996), pp 461-473. [7] Sundararajan, G., and Venkataraman, B., -- The sliding wear behaviour of Al-SiC particulate composites-I. Macrobehaviour, Acta Materilia, 44(2), (1996), pp 451-460. [8] ASM, Handbook of Composites, Volume 21, (2001). [9] Straffelini, G., Bonollo, F., Tiziani, A., -- Influence of matrix hardness on the sliding behavior of 20 vol% Al2O3- particulate reinforced 6061 Al metal matrix composite, Wear 211, (1997), pp 192-197. [10]Martin, A., Rodriguez, J. Llorca, J., -- Temperature effects on the wear behavior of particulate reinforced Al-based composites, Wear, 225229, (1999), pp 615620. [11]Szu Ying Yu, Hitoshi Ishii, Keiichiro Tohgo, Young Tae Cho, Dongfeng Diao, -- Temperature dependence of sliding wear behavior in SiC whisker or SiC particulate reinforced 6061 aluminum alloy composite, Wear, 213, (1997), pp 21-28. [12]Basavarajappa, S., Chandramohan, G., Subramanian, R. and Chandrasekar, -- Dry sliding wear behaviour of Al2219/SiC metal matrix, Materials Science-Poland, 24(2/1), (2006), pp 357-366. [13]Liang, Y. N., Ma, Z. Y., Li, S. Z., Li, S.and Bi, J., -- Effect of particle size on wear behavior of SiC particulate-reinforced aluminum alloy composites, Journal of Materials Science Letters, 14, (1995), pp 114-116. [14]Basavarajappa S. and Chandramohan G., -- Wear studies on metal matrix composites-Taguchi approach, Journal of Material Science and Technology, 21(6), (2005), pp 845-850. [15]Lee, C. S., Kim, Y. H. and Han, K. S., -- Wear Behaviour of Aluminium Matrix Composite Materials, Journal of Materials Science, 27, (1992), pp 793-800. [16]Yang, L.J., -- Wear coefficient equation for aluminium based matrix composites against steel disc, Wear, 255, (2003), pp 79892. [17]S. Natarajan -- Sliding wear behaviour of Al 6063/TiB2 in situ composites at elevated temperatures Materials and Design 30, (2009), pp 25212531. [18]Necat Altinkok, Rasit Koker, -- Modelling of the prediction of the tensile and elastic properties in particulate reinforced metal matrix composites using neural networks, Materials and Designs, 27, (2006), pp 625-631.

% SiC in Al6063

Fig. 2. Variation in tensile strength of Al6063 with increasing wt% of SiC

Decrease in % Elongation
14 13

% Elongation

12 11 10 9 8 7 6 0 1 2 3 4 5

% SiC in Al6063
Fig. 3. Variation in the % elongation with different wt% of SiC

Variation in Compressive Strength


Compressive Strength (MPa)
1100 1000 900 800 700 0 1 2 3 4 5

% SiC in Al6063
Fig. 4. Variation in the compressive strength with different wt% of SiC

IV. CONCLUSIONS The significant conclusions of the studies carried out on Al6063 - SiC composites are as follows. Cast Al6063 - SiC composites were prepared successfully using liquid metallurgy techniques. Hardness of the composites found increased with increased SiC content. Finer the grain size better is the hardness and strength of composites leading to lowering of wear rates.

Published in International Journal of Advanced Engineering & Application, Jan 2011 Issue

73