Microstructural and sliding wear behaviour of a heat-treated zinc-based alloy
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The effect of heat treatment on microstructure, hardness, tensile properties, fracture mode and wear behaviour during lubricated and dry sliding of the zinc-based alloy with 25 wt.% Al was studied. Microstructural investigation and chemical analysis of as-cast and heat-treated specimens, the fracture and worn surfaces, as well as wear debris were performed by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy. Wear tests were carried out using a disc-on block-type wear machine. By a relatively simple heat treating consisting of a short-term annealing in the single-phase region followed by water-quenching, the elongation has been markedly improved, while the strength was maintained high. The results indicate that the wear rate strongly depends on the microstructure, applied load and sliding conditions. The wear rate increases with load, and under dry sliding conditions the wear rate is approximately two orders of a magnitude higher than under lubricated conditions. During d...ry sliding the best wear behaviour was displayed by the water-quenched specimens, whereas slowly cooled specimens showed the higher wear rate. Lubrication strongly affects the wear behaviour. Contrary to dry sliding, slowly cooled specimens exhibit the best wear properties under lubricated conditions. The wear mechanisms were proposed for dry and lubricated sliding.