Microstructural and Tribological Properties of A356 Al–Si Alloy Reinforced with Al2O3 Particles

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In the present study, the effect of the Al2O3 particles (average size of 12 μm, 3 and 10 wt.%) reinforcement on the microstructure and tribological properties of Al–Si alloy (A356) was investigated. Composites were produced by applying compocasting process. Tribological properties of unreinforced alloy and composites were studied, using pin-on-disc tribometer, under dry sliding conditions at different specific loads and sliding speed of 1 m/s. Microhardness measurements, optical microscope and scanning electron microscope were used for microstructural characterization and investigation of worn surfaces and wear debris. During compocasting of A356 alloy, a transformation from a typical dendritic primary α phase to a non-dendritic rosette-like structure occurred. Composites exhibited better wear resistance compared with unreinforced alloy. Presence of 3 wt.% Al2O3 particles in the composite material affected the wear resistance only at specific loads up to 1 MPa. The wear rate of composite with 10 wt.% Al2O3 particles was nearly two order of the magnitude lower than the wear rate of the matrix alloy. Dominant wear mechanism for all materials was adhesion, with others mechanisms: oxidation, abrasion and delamination as minor ones.

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