Microstructure and Mechanical Characterization of Heat Treated Stir Cast Silica (Sea Sand) Reinforced 7XXX Al Alloy MMCs
Metal matrix composites consists of a metallic matrix combined with dispersed particulate phase as reinforcement. Aluminum alloys have been the primary material of choice for structural components of aircraft since about 1930. Well known performance characteristics, known fabrication costs, design experience, and established manufacturing methods and facilities, are just a few of the reasons for the continued confidence in 7XXX Al alloys that will ensure their use in significant quantities for the time to come. Particulate MMCs are of special interest owing to the low cost of their raw materials (primarily natural river sand here) and their ease of fabrication, making them suitable for applications requiring relatively high volume production. 7XXX Al alloys are precipitation hardenable and therefore amenable for thermomechanical treatment. Al–Zn alloys reinforced with particulate materials are used in aerospace industries in spite of the drawbacks of susceptibility to stress corrosion, poor wettability, poor weldability and poor fatigue resistance. The resistance offered by these particulates for the moving dislocations impart secondary hardening in turn contributes strain hardening. Cold deformation increases lattice defects, which in turn improves the properties of solution treated alloy. In view of this, six different Al–Zn–Mg alloy composites reinforced with silica (3 wt. % and 5 wt. %) are prepared by conventional semisolid synthesizing process. The cast alloys are solution treated and aged. The solution treated alloys are further severely cold rolled to enhance the properties. The hardness and strength values are analyzed and compared with silica free Al – Zn-Mg alloys. Precipitation hardening phenomena is accelerated due to the increased number of potential sites for precipitation. Higher peak hardness and lesser aging time are the characteristics of thermo mechanically treated samples. For obtaining maximum hardness, optimum number and volume of precipitate particles are required. The Al-5Zn-1Mg with 5% SiO2 alloy composite shows better result.
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