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INTERNATIONALJOURNALOFAPPLIEDENGINEERINGRESEARCH,DINDIGUL Volume1,No 3,2010 Copyright2010AllrightsreservedIntegratedPublishingAssociation RESEARCHARTICLE ISSN 09764259

Tensilebehaviorof6063/Al2o 3 particulatemetalmatrixcomposites fabricatedbyinvestmentcastingprocess


ChennakesavaReddy.A, EssaZitoun Professor,DepartmentofMechanicalEngineering,JNTUHCollegeofEngineering Hyderabad 500085,AndhraPradesh,India dr_acreddy@yahoo.com ABSTRACT Theuseofinvestmentcastingprocesshasbeenstudiedtofabricate6063/Al2O3 metalmatrix composites. The tensile properties have been evaluated. The EDS report confirms the presence of Al5Cu2Mg8Si6, Al4CuMg5Si4 and Mg2Si compounds in the 6063/Al2O3 composites.Theyieldstrengthandfracturestrengthincreasewithincreaseinvolumefraction ofAl2O3,whereas ductility decreases. The fracture mode isductilein 10%volumefraction compositeandthebrittlefracture isobservedin20%and30%volumefractioncomposites. Keywords:investmentcastingprocess,colloidalsilica,6063,alumina,tensile 1.Introduction Particulatereinforcedmetalmatrixcomposite(PRMMC)consistsofauniformdistributionof strengthening ceramic particles embedded within a metal matrix. Divecha et al., 1981 have expressed that the PRMMC exhibits higher strength and stiffness, in addition to isotropic behavior at a lower density, when compared to the unreinforced matrix material. Chawla, 1997 have found aluminum alloy based metal matrix composites an attractive and viable nomineeforautomobileandaerospaceapplications. The mechanical properties of aluminium alloys reinforced with ceramic particulates are known to be influenced by the particle size and the volume fraction. Arsenault, 1984 has concludedfromtheseriesofexperimentsthat0.2%proofstressandultimatetensilestrength tend to increase, and toughness and ductility decrease with increasing volume fraction of particulateordecreasingparticlesize.ZhouandXu,1997haveusedthestircastingmethod asanalternativelowcostliquidprocessingtechniquetoproducePRMMC.Stircastingroute alsoensuresthatundamagedreinforcementmaterialsareattained.Hashimetal.,1999 have madethistypeofprocessingincommercialuseforparticulateAlbasedcomposites.Atwo step stirring was developed for homogeneous particle distribution to fabricate particulate metalmatrixcomposites. The objective of thepresent work wasto study the influence of microstructure (ascastand heattreatmentconditions),volumefractionofaluminareinforcementonthetensileproperties, and fracture behavior of 6063 aluminium alloy metal matrix composite reinforced with alumina (Al2O3). In the present work, the investment casting process was implemented to fabricatealuminaparticulatereinforcedmetalmatrixcomposites.

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2.ExperimentalProcedure The chemical composition of 6063 matrix alloy is given in Table 1. The properties of the matrix alloy are given in Table 2. The volume fractions of Al2O3 particulate reinforcement are10%,20%and30%.TheparticlesizeofAl2O3 is10 mm. Table1:Chemicalcompositionofmatrixalloy6063
Alloy Al 6063 98.2 Compositiondeterminedspectrographically,% Si Fe Cu Ti Mg Mn Zn Cr 0.0047 0.0376 0.58 0.0076 0.076 0.0005 0.271 0.325

Table2:Mechanicalpropertiesofmatrixalloy6063
Matrix Material 6063 6063(T6) Density, g/cc 2.70 2.70 Modulusof Elasticity, GPa 68.9 68.1 UltimateTensile strength,MPa 172 245 Elongation,% 22 12

Figure1: Flowchartofinvestmentcastingprocess

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2.1Preparationofceramicshells,meltandmetalmatrix composites Reddyetal.,1996havedevelopedtheceramicshellprocessusingcolloidalsilicaasabinder forcastingcompositematerials. Dipcoatingslurrieswerepreparedbyaddingtherefractory filler to the liquidbinderusing sufficientagitation tobreakup agglomerates and thoroughly wetanddispersethefiller.Colloidalsilicabinderandaluminafiller(particlesofsize45 mm) wereusedtopreparedipcoatingslurring.Thecolloidalconcentrationinthebinderwas30%. Thefillertobinderratiowas0.65.Ceramicshellsweremadebyapplyingaseriesofceramic coatingtothepatterns.Thewax patternwasfirstdippedintothedipcoatingslurrybath.The patternwasthenwithdrawnfromtheslurryandmanipulatedtodrainoffexcessslurryandto produceuniformlayer.Thewetlayerwasimmediatelystuccoedwithcoarsesilicasand.Each coating was allowed to dry for four hours in the open air. The operations of coating, stuccoing,anddryingwererepeatedsixtimes.Theseventhcoatwasleftunstuccoedtoavoid theoccurrenceoflooseparticlesontheshellsurface.Thefirsttwocoatswerestuccoedwitha sandofAFSfinenessnumber120andthenextfourcoatswerestuccoedwithcoarsesandof AFSfinenessnumber50.Afterallcoatstheshellswereairdriedfor24hours(figure1). Al alloys were melted in a resistance furnace. The crucibles were made of graphite. The meltinglossesofalloyconstituentsweretakenintoaccountwhilepreparingthecharge.The charge was fluxed with coverall to prevent dressing. The molten alloy was degasified by tetrachlorethane(insolidform).Thecruciblewastakenoutofthefurnaceandmodifiedwith sodium.Thentheliquidmeltwasallowedtocooldownjustbelowtheliquidustemperature 0 tobring the melt semi solid state. At this stage, the preheated(1000 C for1 hour)alumina (Al2O3)particles were added tothe liquidmelt. Themolten 6061 alloy and Al2O3 particles are thoroughly stirred manually. After sufficient manual stirring, the semisolid liquid melt was reheated to a fully liquid state in the resistance furnace followed by automatic mechanicalstirringusingamixertomakethemelthomogenousforabout15minutesat200 rpm. The temperature of the melt was measured using a dip type thermocouple. The 0 preheated (200 C) ceramic shell was gravity poured with the liquid melt. The wax pattern, ceramicshellandcastingareshowninfigure2.

Figure2: Waxpattern,ceramicshell,andcasting

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2.2HeatTreatment
0 Priortothemachiningofcompositesamples,asolutiontreatmentwasappliedat550 Cfor 0 15minquenchedincoldwater,andagedat150 Cfor100hours.

2.3TensileTests The ascast and heat treated samples were machined to get specimens for tensile test. The shape and dimensions of the tensile specimen are shown in figure 3. The universal testing machine (UTKE: PC based) was used for the tensile test. The specimens were loaded hydraulically.Theloadsatwhichthespecimenhasreachedtheyieldpointandbrokenwere noteddown.Theextensometerwasusedtomeasuretheelongation.

Figure3:Standard6mm diametercylindricaltensilespecimen 2.3OpticalandScanningElectronMicroscopicAnalysis The microscopic structures of the composite samples were revealed by the optical microscopy.Thepolishedspecimenswereringedwithdistilledwaterandetched with0.5% HFsolution.Fracturesurfacesofthedeformed/fractured(undertensileloading)testsamples were examined in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to determine the macroscopic fracturemodeandtoestablishthemicroscopicmechanismsgoverningfracture.Samplesfor SEM observation were obtained from the tested specimens by sectioning parallel to the fracture surface and the scanning was carried in IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Hyderabad) S3000N Toshiba. EDS analysis was carried out to find the formationofinterfacialcompoundsinthecomposites. 3.ResultsandDiscussion Three tensile specimens were tested for each trial. The average values of yield strength, fracture strength (ultimate tensile strength), and ductility in terms of tensile elongation are presentedinthegraphicalforms. 3.1Undeformedmicrostructure The optical micrographs illustrating the microstructures of the ascast and heattreated 6063/Al2O3 metal matrix composites are shown in figure 4. In the ascast condition, Al is present both in solid solution with the matrix and precipitated as Al12Mg17 phase that is present at and along the grain boundaries. A nonuniformdistributionof Al2O3 particulates throughthe6063metalmatrixwithevidenceofclustering,oragglomerationisobserved.In theascast6063/Al2O3 composite,thephasesMg2Si,MgOandMgAl2O4 arealsoseenalong thegrainboundaries(figure4a). 545

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Figure4:Microstructureofascast6063/Al2O3 metalmatrixcomposite(volume fraction=20%)(a)ascast(b)heattreated

Figure5:EDSanalysisofheattreated6063/Al2O3 metalmatrixcomposite(volumefraction =20%) Magnesiumandsiliconcombinetoformacompoundmagnesiumsilicide(Mg2Si),whichin turn forms a simple eutectic system with aluminum. The microstructure of heattreated 6063/Al2O3 composite reveal particles of intermetallics such as Al5Cu2Mg8Si6 and Al4CuMg5Si4 precipitated during the heattreatment (figure 4b). These are brittle in nature. Theascastmicrostructure(figure4a)revealscoarsegrainstructurewhereastheheattreated microstructure (figure 4b) represents the fine grain structure. The presence of manganese, iron, copper,leads to the formationof (Fe, Mn,Cu)3SiAl12 and thepresence of magnesium escortstotheformationofMg2Si (figure5).

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450 As cas t 400 Heattreated 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 10 20 30 40

ISSN 09764259

Yieldstrength,MPa

Volumefraction,%

Figure6:Variationoftheyieldstrengthwiththevolumefractionof Al2O3 particles 3.2Tensileproperties Figure6 illustrates the influence of volumefractionofAl2O3 (reinforcement)on the on the yield strength of 6063/Al2O3 Metal matrix composites. The yield strength is defined as the stress corresponding to a plastic strain of 0.2%. The graphs indicate that the yield strength increaseswithincreaseinvolumefractionof Al2O3 inthecomposite.Withincreasingvolume fraction, more load is transferred to the reinforcement which also results in a higher yield strength.ThisbehaviorisinagreementwiththeworkcarriedbyYungetal,2004. Thereisan increaseof84%yieldstrengthinthereinforcedcompositeovertheascast6063alloyandan increaseof44%yieldstrengthintheheattreatedcompositeovertheheattreated6063alloy whenthemetalmatrixalloy6063isreinforcedwith30%volumefractionof Al2O3.Theyield strength increases after solution treatment. Upon cooling, dislocations form at the matrix/reinforcement interface owing to the thermal mismatch. The tangled dislocations aroundtheagglomerationofthealuminaparticlescouldcontributeareinforcementeffectin theAlalloymatrix.Accordingtopreviousliterature(Bestercietal.,1992),theyieldstrength of the Alalloy is related the particulate dislocation interaction by means of the Orowan bowingmechanism.Theareabetweentheupperlineandthelowerlineinfigure6represents thestrengtheningeffectduetodislocationsandprecipitationhardening.Iftheagglomeration appearstobebondedtothematrix,theagglomerationcancontributetothestrengtheningof thecomposite.Thedegreeofagglomerationincreaseswiththeincreaseinvolumefraction. Figure 7 shows the effect of volume fraction on the fracture strength (ultimate tensile strength). The fracturestrength follows the same trend as the yield strength of6063/ Al2O3 composite.Thereisanincreaseof75%fracturestrengthinthereinforcedcompositeoverthe ascast6063alloyandanincreaseof42%fracturestrengthintheheattreatedcompositeover theheattreated6063alloywhenthemetalmatrixalloy6063isreinforcedwith30%volume fractionofAl2O3.Thefracturestrengthisonlymarginallyhigherthantheyieldstrength.The increase in fracture strength over the yield strength is 14% of the ascast 6063/Al2O3

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compositehavingvolumefractionof30%,whereastheincreaseinfracturestrengthis7%of heattreated 6063/Al2O3 composite having volume fraction of 30%. This indicates that the work hardening rate past yielding is low in the heattreated composites. An earlier work reported by Chawla and Shen, 2001 that the work hardening rate was a simple function of lower matrix volume (the matrix volume decreases with increase in volume fraction of reinforcement.
450 400 Fracturestrength,MPa 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 10 20 30 Volumefraction,% 40 Ascast Heattreated

Figure7: Variationofthefracturestrengthwiththevolumefractionof Al2O3 particles The influence of volume fraction of Al2O3 on the ductility (measured in terms of tensile elongation) is shown in figure 8. The decrease in the ductility is 76% of the ascast 6063/Al2O3 compositehavingvolumefractionof30%,whereasthedecreaseintheductility is74%ofheattreated6063/Al2O3 composite.Thedecreaseintheductilitycanbeattributed to the beginning of void nucleation in advance with increasing amount of Al2O3 reinforcement. It was verified from the work carried out byArsenault et al, 1991 that the microplasticitytookplaceinthemetalmatrixcompositesduetostressconcentrationsinthe matrixatthepolesofthereinforcementand/oratsharpcornersofthereinforcingparticles.
22 20 18 Elongation,% 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 10 20 30 Volumefraction,% 40 Ascast Heattreated

Figure8: Variationoftheductilitywiththevolumefractionof Al2O3 particles 548

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Figure9: Tensilefracturesurfacesof 6063/Al2O3 composites(a)10%Al2O3,(b)20%Al2O3, and(c)30%Al2O3 4.FractureBehavior Figure9ashowsductilefractureforthe6063/Al2O3 composite(having10%volumefraction) with no extensive diameter contraction. The existence of the reinforcing Al2O3 particles causedconsiderablechangeinthebehaviorofthefractureprocess.Infigure10thedimples are neither uniform nor circular in shape. The matrixparticle decohesion is also observed. The fracture mechanism is ductile, involving the nucleation, growth, and coalescence of voidsinthematrixaroundtheAl2O3 particles. Figure9brevealsbrittlefractureforthe6063/Al2O3 composite(having20%volumefraction) withextensivemicrovoidsinthematrix.Infigure11thedimplesaredifferentfromthosein figure 10 both in size and shape. Figure 11 shows greater percentage matrixparticle decohesionisobservedforthe6063/Al2O3 composite(having20%volumefraction)thanthat previouslyobservedforthe6063/Al2O3 composite(having10%volumefraction).Thevoids grow under both the applied load and the influence of local plastic constraint until a coalescencemechanismisactivated,andthisfollowedbythetotalfailureofthespecimen.

Figure10:SEMfracturesurfaceof heattreatedtensilesample(volumefraction= 10%)

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Figure9cshowsthefracturesurfaceof6063/Al2O3 composite(having30%volumefraction) composite. The fracture surface appears to be flat and normal to axis of loading. On a microscopicscale(figure12),thefracturesurfaceappearstocontainmany microvoidsinthe matrix. The matrixparticle decohesion is also observed for this composite (figure 12), but more extensively than those observed for the 10%, 20% volume fraction composites. The voidcoalescenceoccurswhenthevoidelongatestotheinitialintervoidspacing.Thisleadsto thedimpledappearanceofthefracturedsurfaces.Brittlefractureofthiscompositeindicates that void growth and coalescence occurred rapidly. The fracture process in high volume fraction(morethan20%)6063/Al2O3 compositesisverymuchlocalizedandthefailurepath in these composites is through the matrixparticle interface rupturing to the reinforcement particlecracking.ThepresenceofAl2O3 reinforcementparticlesreducestheaveragedistance inthecompositebyprovidingstrongbarrierstodislocationmotion(figure12).

Figure11:SEMfracturesurfaceof heattreatedtensilesample(volumefraction= 20%)

Figure12: SEMfracturesurfaceof heattreatedtensilesample(volumefraction= 30%)

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5.Conclusions The micrographs of ascast and heat treated 6063/ Al2O3 composites indicate random distributionofAl2O3 particlesinthemetalmatrixcomposites.TheEDSreportconfirmsthe presence of Al5Cu2Mg8Si6, Al4CuMg5Si4 and Mg2Si compounds in the 6063/Al2O3 composites.Theyieldstrengthandfracturestrengthincreasewithincreaseinvolumefraction of Al2O3, whereas ductility of 6063/ Al2O3 composites decreases. The fracture mode is ductile in 10% volume fraction composite and the brittle fracture is observed in 20% and 30%volumefractioncomposites. Acknowledgements TheauthoracknowledgeswiththanksAllIndiaCouncilforTechnicalEducation(AICTE) NewDelhiforsanctioningR&Dproject,andTapasyaCastingPrivateLimitedHyderabad, andIndianInstituteofChemicalTechnology Hyderabadfortheirtechnicalhelp. References 1. Arsenault R.J., 1984,The Strengthening of Aluminum Alloy 6061 byFiber and PlateletSilicon Carbide,MaterialScienceandEngineering,64(2),pp.17181. 2. ArsenaultR.J.,WangL.,andFengC.R.,1991,StrengtheningofCompositesdue to Microstructural Changesinthe Matrix,ActaMetallurgica,39,pp.4757. 3. BesterciM., SlesarM.,andJanggG.,1992, Structureand Propertiesof Dispersion HardenedAlAl4C3 Materials,PowderMetallurgy International,24,pp.2732. 4. Chawla N., and Shen Y.L., 2001, Mechanical Behavior of Particle Reinforced MetalMatrixComposites,AdvancedEngineeringMaterials,3,pp.357370. 5. Divecha A.P., Fishman S.G., and Karmarkar S.D., 1981, Silicon Carbide ReinforcedAluminumaFormableComposite,JournalofMetals,33(9),pp.12 17. 6. Hashim J., Looney L., and Hashmi M.S.J., 1999, Metal Matrix Composites: Production by the Stir Casting Method, Journal of Material Processing and Technology,92,pp.17. 7. K.K.Chawla.,1997,CompositeMaterials:ScienceandEngineering.2ndedition, SpringerVerlag,NewYork,102104. 8. ReddyA.C.,NiranjanH.B.,andMurtiA.R.V.,1996,OptimizationofInvestment ShellMouldusingColloidalSilicaBinder,JournalofEngineeringandMaterials Sciences,3,pp.180184. 9. Yung C.K., and Chan S.L.I., 2004, Tensile Properties of Nanometric Al2O3 Particulate Reinforced Aluminium Matrix Composites, Journal of Materials ChemistryandPhysics,85,pp.438443.

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10.Zhou W., and Xu Z.M., 1997, Casting of SiC Reinforced Metal Matrix Composites,Journalof MaterialProcessingandTechnology,63,pp.358363.

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