TiO2 particles have been added in molten aluminium to result in aluminium based cast Al/Al3Ti-Al2O3 composite, which has been added then to molten magnesium to synthesize magnesium based cast Mg-Al/Al3Ti-Al2O3 composite. The nominal compositions in terms of Mg, Al, and TiO2 contents in the magnesium based composites are Mg-9Al-0.6TiO2, Mg-9Al-0.8TiO2, Mg-9Al-1.0TiO2 and Mg-9Al-1.2TiO2 designated respectively as MA6T, MA8T, MA10T and MA12T. The microstructure of the cast magnesium based composite shows grayish rods of intermetallics Al3Ti, inherited from aluminium based composite but these rods, on hot forging, breaks into smaller lengths decreasing the average aspect ratio (length to diameter) from 7.5 to 3.0. There are also cavities in between the broken segments of rods. β-phase in cast microstructure, Mg17Al12, dissolves during heating prior to forging and re-precipitates as relatively finer particles on cooling. The amount of β-phase also decreases on forging as segregation is removed. In both the cast and forged composite, the Brinell hardness increases rapidly with increasing addition of TiO2 but the hardness is higher in forged composites by about 80 BHN. With addition of higher level of TiO2 in magnesium based cast composite, yield strength decreases progressively but there is marginal increase in yield strength over that of the cast Mg-9 wt. pct. Al, designated as MA alloy. But the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) in the cast composites decreases with the increasing particle content indicating possibly an early initiation of crack in the brittle inter-dendritic region and their easy propagation through the interfaces of the particles. In forged composites, there is a significant improvement in both yield strength and UTS with increasing TiO2 addition and also, over those observed in their cast counterpart, but at higher addition it decreases. It may also be noted that as in forged MA alloy, incomplete recovery of forging strain increases the strength of the matrix in the composites and the ductility decreases both in the forged alloy and the composites. Initiation fracture toughness, JIC, decreases drastically in cast composites compared to that in MA alloy due to the presence of intermetallic Al3Ti and Al2O3 particles in the composite. There is drastic reduction of JIC on forging both in the alloy and the composites, possibly due to incomplete recovery of forging strain in both as well as breaking of Al3Ti rods and the voids between the broken segments of Al3Ti rods in composites. The ratio of tearing modulus to elastic modulus in cast composites show higher ratio, which increases with the increasing TiO2 addition. The ratio decreases comparatively more on forging of cast MA alloy than those in forged composites.
Particle reinforced Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) succeeds in synergizing the metallic matrix with ceramic particle reinforcements to result in improved strength, particularly at elevated temperatures, but adversely it affects the ductility of the matrix because of agglomeration and porosity. The present study investigates the outcome of tensile properties in a cast and hot forged composite reinforced simultaneously with coarse and fine particles. Nano-sized alumina particles have been generated by milling mixture of aluminum and manganese dioxide powders. Milled particles after drying are added to molten metal and the resulting slurry is cast. The microstructure of the composites shows good distribution of both the size categories of particles without significant clustering. The presence of nanoparticles along with coarser particles in a composite improves both strength and ductility considerably. Delay in debonding of coarser particles to higher stress is due to reduced mismatch in extension caused by increased strain hardening in presence of the nanoparticles. However, higher addition of powder mix beyond a limit results in deterioration of mechanical properties, possibly due to clustering of nanoparticles. The porosity in cast composite generally increases with the increasing addition of powder mix as observed during process and on forging it has got reduced. The base alloy and nanocomposites show improvement in flow stress which could be attributed to lowering of porosity and grain refinement as a consequence of forging.