Tribological properties of A356 Al-Si alloy composites under dry sliding conditions
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Purpose - Aluminium alloys are frequently applied in automotive and other industries, since they provide mass reduction. Besides positive effects, aluminium alloys have their shortcomings reflected, first of all, in inappropriate tribological properties of these materials. The aim of this research was to enable the production of cheap aluminium alloy matrix composite with favourable combination of structural, mechanical and tribological properties, focusing on the tribological behaviour. Design/methodology/approach - The A356 Al-Si alloy was used as a matrix for producing metal matrix composites in compocasting process. Three different materials, in form of particles, were added to the matrix (Al2O3, SiC and graphite). Hardness and tribological properties (wear, friction and wear mechanism) of heat-treated (T6) samples were examined and compared. Tribological tests were carried out on ball-on-block tribometer under dry sliding conditions. Sliding was linear (reciprocating). Counter bod...y was alumina ball. Average velocity was 0.038 m/s (max. 0.06 m/s), sliding distance was 500 m and normal load was 1 N. Findings - The effect of two different ceramic particles and graphite particles on tribological properties of obtained composites was evaluated. Wear resistance of composites reinforced with SiC particles was higher and coefficient of friction was lower compared to the composite reinforced with Al2O3 particles. A dual hybrid composite (with SiC and graphite particles) showed the lowest value of wear rate and friction coefficient. Dominant wear mechanism for all tested material was adhesion. Research limitations/implications - It seems useful to continue the work on developing hybrid composites containing soft graphite particles with A356 Al-Si alloy as matrix. The major task should be to improve particles distribution (especially with higher graphite content) and to explore tribological behaviour in diverse working conditions. Originality/value - Particulate composites with A356 aluminium alloy as a matrix produced in compocasting process using ceramic particles (Al2O3, SiC) were investigated in many researches, but there are only few detailed analyses of dual composites (with the addition of ceramic and graphite particles). In some previous studies, it was shown that compocasting process, as relatively cheap technology, can obtain good structural and mechanical characteristics of composites. In this study, it was shown that even a low graphite content, under specified conditions, can improve tribological properties.