Characterization of mechanically alloyed and pressureless sintered Al-7 wt% Si-2 wt% LaB6-2 wt% (MoSi2, WSi2) hybrid composites
Abstract The purpose of this research is to investigate the dual effect of silicide (MoSi2 or WSi2) and LaB6 reinforcing particles on the microstructural and mechanical properties of Al-7 wt% Si (Al7Si) matrix. Hypoeutectic Al7Si blends prepared from elemental Al and Si powders were mechanically alloyed (MA’d) for 12 h in a planetary ball mill (at 300 rpm). Afterwards, 2 wt% silicide reinforcements (MoSi2 or WSi2) with various particle size distributions (micron, bimodal, submicron) were separately added into these MA’d Al7Si powders together with 2 wt% of LaB6 particles. Powders having compositions of Al7Si, Al7Si-2 wt% LaB6, Al7Si-2 wt% LaB6-2 wt% MoSi2 and Al7Si-2 wt% LaB6-2 wt% WSi2 were milled for 30 min using a high-energy ball mill (at 1200 rpm) in order to obtain homogeneous distribution throughout the microstructure. Compositional, microstructural and mechanical characterization studies were performed on the sintered samples. The results showed that high-energy ball milling ensured the homogeneous distribution of micron-sized MoSi2 and WSi2 particles within the matrix rather than those of bimodal and submicron-sized ones. Micron-sized MoSi2 and WSi2 reinforced hybrid composites displayed dramatically higher hardness and wear resistance than those of composites reinforced with different size of MoSi2 and WSi2 particles. The striking point of the study was the remarkably higher hardness and wear resistance properties of the hybrid composites compared to those of un-reinforced and only LaB6-reinforced ones. As a conclusion, hybrid composites extremely displayed promising mechanical properties.