Effects of particulate reinforcement and heat treatment on the hardness and wear properties of AA 2024-MoSi2 nanocomposites
Abstract In this study, nanocomposites of AA 2024 aluminum alloy matrix reinforced with different volume fractions of nanometric MoSi 2 intermetallic particles ranging from 0 to 5%, were produced using mechanical alloying technique. For comparison, samples without reinforcing particles and mechanical alloying and a sample with micrometric MoSi 2 particles were also synthesized. The prepared composite powders were consolidated by cold and hot pressing and then heat treated to solution and aged condition (T6). The effects of MoSi 2 particle size, volume fraction and also heat treatment on the hardness and wear properties of the composites were investigated using Brinell hardness and pin-on-disc wear tests. The results indicated that although T6 heat treatment increases the hardness of all samples compared to as hot-pressed (HP) condition, the age-hardenability (aging induced hardness improvement) decreases after mechanical alloying and with increasing MoSi 2 volume fraction due to the high dislocation density produced during mechanical alloying. With increasing the volume fraction of nano-sized MoSi 2 particles up to 3–4%, the hardness of the composites continuously increases and then declines most probably due to the particle agglomeration. The wear sliding test disclosed that the wear resistance of all specimens in T6 condition is higher than that of HP condition and increases with increasing MoSi 2 content. Scanning electron microscopic observation of the worn surfaces was conducted and the dominant wear mechanism was recognized as abrasive wear accompanied by some adhesive wear mechanism.