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S. Mohamed Masood(1), N. Krishna Kumar(2),P. Saravanan(3)

1, 2,

Department of Mechanical Engg. Mailam Engg. College, Mailam. E-MAIL: (1), (2) ____

_____________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT This paper deals with the comparison of the performance characteristics of Al/SiC composites produced through stir casting and powder metallurgy. Composites prepared by 5 % volume fraction of SiC reinforcement material with Aluminum matrix metal. In primary process there is some defects like porosity, blow holes, irregular grain structure are present that can be reduced in secondary process i.e. extrusion. Work pieces are longitudinally split, grid marked and extruded in hydraulic press. Hardness values and microstructure are compared for two processes. Keywords: Composites, Microstructure, Hardness, Stir Casting, Extrusion.

1. INTRODUCTION In liquid state processing techniques, the wetting of reinforcement is good enough to establish a strong interface between the reinforcement and the matrix material. But the formation of blow holes, solidification cracking, clustering of reinforcement and reaction between the matrix and reinforcement at high temperature are the main problems involved in liquid state processing [1].In solid state processing techniques, the wetting of reinforcement is one of the limiting factors because the increase in size of the composite increases the possibility of occurrence of defects in composite [2]. A characteristic of extrusion is that large deformation can take place without fracture, because the material is under high triaxial compression during extrusion. As a result the extruded billet quality depended directly by the mechanical properties of billet and die, the extrusion speed, the Die geometry and the extrusion shape [5].

2. EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY Materials used for this composite are aluminum as matrix and SiC as reinforcement. First the components are manufactured by powder metallurgy techniques. Mixing of the powders is to be done in a blending machine in correct proportion. Blending is being done to get the required flow ability and to obtain uniform distribution of particle size. Compacting is made to get the work piece to required shape and size. Sintering is the operation of heating a green compact to an elevated temperature after cold compaction. Hydrogen gases passed for getting good components. In sintering, the particles are forced together to increase the density. In addition to this, wastage of material is less compared to other manufacturing process and good dimensional accuracy also can be obtained. Secondly, the composites are manufactured by stir casting technique.

Extrusion die made of hard die steel with the 52 HRC and it can be machined by cylindrical grinding and heat treated to get good strength. The inlet diameter is 26mm and outlet diameter is 20mm and punch also made by the same material. Requisite clearance is given for entering into the die for easy extrusion. Before extrusion, the work pieces are longitudinally cut into pieces of 26mm diameter and 30mm height. Then their surfaces were well polished and 3X3mm grids were marked by screen printing process. The grid in the surface consist of a set of lines parallel to the billet axis called flow lines and another set of lines perpendicular to the flow lines called transverse line. Extrusion process was carried out in 100 Ton hydraulic press, zinc stearate and paraffin oil mixture is applied inside of the die and outside of the punch as a lubricant. The grid marked split work piece was placed on the hydraulic press table and punch was inserted into the die. The load was applied over the punch through the ram gradually. The pressure and load for every 2mm displacement of ram was noted. When the material passes the extrusion die in the taper portion, stop the load and put upside down the die. Applying the pressure on the rear side of the die, the extruded part is removed from it. The deformation values of two pieces are measured by machine vision system. 3.0 RESULT AND DISCUSSION 3.1 Load Vs Displacement Graph shows that, when the ram displacement increases the load required for extrusion also increases. From the Table 1 and Graph 1, 7.3 Ton will be required for stir casting specimens but in case of powder metallurgy specimen 5.132 Ton only is enough. Due to the improper distribution of ingredients and variation in particle size of different

powders there will be more porosity in powder metallurgy. Therefore the particle movement starts earlier with fewer loads when compared to stir casting billet. Table 1. Load and Pressure Values of Stir Casting Billet Ram displacement (mm) 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 Load (Ton) 0.122 0.812 1.152 1.442 2.05 2.408 2.936 3.688 4.236 5.318 6.13 7.388 Pressure on the billet (MPa) 2.25 15 21.29 26.65 37.88 44.49 54.25 68.14 78.27 98.26 113.26 136.51

Table 2. Load and Pressure Values of Powder Metallurgy Billet Ram displacement (mm) 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 Load (Ton) 0.068 0.438 0.824 1.082 1.542 1.872 2.306 2.932 3.254 4.022 4.4 5.132 Pressure on the billet (MPa) 1.26 8.1 15.24 20.02 28.53 34.63 42.66 54.24 60.2 74.41 81.4 94.95

From load and pressure values of stir casting and powder metallurgy, load vs displacement graph is drawn. From this graph stir casting billet will required

more load compared with powder metallurgy billet and the maximum load required for stir casting is 7.388 Ton and powder metallurgy billet 5.132 Ton
L o a d V s D is p la c e m e n t
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 2 4 6 8 10 1214 1618 20 2224 R a m D i sp l a c e m e n t (m m )

S t ir C a s t in g P ow der M e t a llu rg y

Load (Ton)

Figure 1. Grain structure of before extrusion (powder metallurgy)

Graph 1. Load Vs displacement

3.2 HARDNESS The hardness of the both the composite specimens before and after extrusion were measured by Brinell hardness machine. Before the extrusion, the hardness values of stir casting and powder metallurgy specimen are 50, 46 and after extrusion the hardness increases to 101, 97. The hardness of the composite produce by stir casting specimen will have high hardness compare to powder metallurgy specimen. But the percentage of increases in hardness of powder metallurgy is higher compared to stir casting process. 3.3 MICROSTRUCTURE Microstructures of the extruded specimen of powder metallurgy and before extrusion specimen of stir casting were analyzed with for microstructure analysis. Figure 3 Grain structure of after extrusion (powder metallurgy)

Figure 2. Grain structure of before extrusion (stir casting)

5. REFERENCES 1. Ling C.P,Bush M.B and Perera D.S, 1995,: The effect of fabrication techniques on the properties of AlSiC composites, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Volume 48, pp 325 - 331. Figure 4 Grain structure of after extrusion (stir casting) From figure1 before powder metallurgy specimen particle size is large; particles are breakage more in extruded. Grains are more uniformly distributed in extruded specimen compare to before extrusion specimen (figure 3). In stir casting specimens, the grain size of the particles are smaller than the powder metallurgy specimen. Acknowledgments This study was conducted with the support of Mr. V. Jayaseelan, Research Scholar, MIT ,Chennai. 4.0 CONCLUSION Stir casting specimen exhibited high hardness compared to powder metallurgy specimen. Stir casting specimens are finer grains in the microstructure than the powder metallurgy specimen. After extrusion both the extruded specimen exhibited reduced porosity, more uniform particle distribution, elimination of clusters and improved ductility and also both the specimens are experienced grain refinement and increased strength. The load required for extrusion was less for powder metallurgy process compared to stir casting process. From the above results stir casting specimens have higher strength compared to powder metallurgy specimen. 2. Torralba J.M., Da Costa C.E and Velasco .F, 2003, P/M aluminum matrix composites: an overview, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Volume 133, pp 203206. 3. Hashim.J, Looney L and Hashmi.M.S.J, 1999, Metal matrix composites: production by the stir casting method, Journal of materials processing technology, volume 9293, pp 1-7. 4. Morsi .K, Mcshane .H.B and Mclean.M, 2000 Effect of Particle Size and Volume Fraction on Hot Extrusion Reaction Synthesis of SiC Particle Reinforced NiAl, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions, volume 31, pp 16631670. 5. Lontos A.., Soukatzidis F.A, Demosthenous D.A, Baldoukas A.K 2008, Effect Of Extrusion Parameters And Die Geometry On The Produced Billet Quality Using Finite Element Method , Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Manufacturing Engineering (ICMEN).