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Tribology International 43 (2010) 939943

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Tribology International
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/triboint

Abrasive wear behaviour of SiC/2014 aluminium composite


Yusuf S- ahin 
Faculty of Technology, Gazi University, 06500, Besevler-Ankara, Turkey

a r t i c l e in fo

abstract

Available online 24 December 2009

Aluminium alloy matrix reinforced with 15 wt% SiC particles were prepared by powder metallurgy (PM)
method. Wear behaviour of the composite was investigated to nd out effects of operating variables
and hardness in terms of the Taguchi approach, on a pin-on-disc machine and compared with the
previous work on the composite produced by liquid metallurgy method [1]. Analysis of variance
(ANOVA) was also employed to investigate which design parameters signicantly affected the wear
behaviour of the composite. The results showed that abrasive grain size exerted the greatest effect on
the abrasive wear, followed by the hardness, which supported the previous work, but the percentage
contribution was very different. The percentage contributions of the grain size and hardness were about
81.57 and 11.09, respectively. This might be because of production method of PM, particle size, model
used by not considering the interaction effects, and testing condition. Moreover, larger particle sizes of
the composites showed more wear resistance than those of others. As for the case of earlier work the
percentage contributions of the grain size and type of material (hardness) were about 29.90, 17.90,
respectively. However, the percentage contribution of interaction of abrasive size and hardness was
about 30.90 while interaction of other factors was pooled.
& 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
SiC
Powder metallurgy
MMCs
Abrasive wear

1. Introduction
Metal matrix composites (MMCs) have received substantial
attention due to their reputation as stronger, stiffer and lighter
materials over the base alloy [1,2]. The majority of such materials
are metallic matrixes reinforced with high modulus continuous
bres, short bres, chopped bres, whiskers or particulates.
Abrasive wear occurs when hard particles or asperities penetrate
a softer surface and displace material in the form of elongated
chips and slivers. The abrasive wear of materials is inuenced by
many factors such as properties of materials, operating conditions, geometry of wearing bodies and environmental conditions
[3,4]. In addition, some mechanical properties such as elastic
modulus, tensile strength, hardness, microstructure, strain hardening and fracture strain also inuence the wear of the materials
[5,6]. It has been observed that sliding or abrasive characteristics
of materials are of paramount importance in tribological
systems such as pistons, cylinder heads and others. Therefore,
various studies have been carried out on the wear behaviour of
SiCp reinforced MMCs based on experimental and theoretical
work on abrasive wear of MMCs [711]. For example, Deuis et al.
[12] showed that the controlling factors in composites wear were
the abrasive grit size, hardness of the wearing surface in relation
to that of the abrasive material and reinforcements mean free

 Tel.: + 90 312 2127186; fax: + 90 312 2120059.

E-mail addresses: ysahin@gazi.edu.tr, yusufsahin1954@gmail.com.


0301-679X/$ - see front matter & 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.triboint.2009.12.056

path in MMCs. Prasad et al. [13] reported that the size of abrasive
played a signicant role in governing the wear resistance of the
specimens. Esteban et al. [14] found that the grain size and
the WC reinforcement particles both had a major effect on
abrasive wear of Ni-base alloy coatings both with and without WC
reinforcement, followed by reinforcement. Similar ndings were
reported by Sahin [1517], Mondal [18], Spuzic et al. [19].
However, it is contradictory to the some other tests carried out
on composites. For example, Modi et al. [20] showed that that the
effect of applied load on the wear rate of the 10 wt% Al2O3
composite was more severe as compared to that of the abrasive
size at different loads. However, another study was reported that
type of the work piece exerted the greatest effect on the abrasive
wear, followed by applied load [21]. In order to clarify this point,
MMCs were produced by PM route with the same SiC particles
and same alloy. A solid state process viz. powder metallurgy (PM)
route is simple method and this process exhibits excellent
nished performance due to the ability to obtain uniform
distribution of reinforcement and near-net shape formability
[2224]. It could be seen that the most of the study was focused
on the experimental work and a few mathematical models based
on the Taguchi or factorial techniques were reported
[1517,25,26].
The aim of the present study was, therefore, to investigate the
abrasive wear behaviour of SiCp/2014 Al matrix composites
containing 15 wt% SiC particles produced by PM technique, using
a pin on-disc-type of wear machine. Furthermore, ANOVA was
employed to investigate the inuence of wear parameters and

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940

hardness of the different particle sizes of composites, and was


compared with previous composites produced by casting method,
which adopted L16 orthogonal design when taking into account of
interaction effects.

(E1407020 mm) sizes of SiC abrasives, respectively. Each test


was performed with a new abrasive paper. A minimum of three
tests was conducted on each sample.

3. Results and discussion

2. Experimental details
For MMCs, commercial aluminium powders with an average
particle size of 103 mm with 99.5% purity and various particle
sizes of SiC powders were provided from Akyol Turkish Company
in Istanbul/Turkey. Aluminium alloy (Al-2014) was used as an
unreinforced material. The chemical composition of the alloy
(wt%) is Si 0.75, Fe 0.26, Cu 4.9, Mg 0.58, Zn 0.68 and balance Al. In
order to produce MMCs, SiC particles with various sizes were used
as the reinforcement materials in addition to Al 2014 alloy. The
average particle sizes of 33, 14, 9 mm was evaluated, hereafter
denoted as 33 mm, 14 mm-SiCp/Al composites, 9 mm-SiCp/Al
composites containing 15wt%SiC particles. The mixtures of
powders were uniaxially cold compacted using the cylindrical
die of 10 mm diameter and 20 mm height at a pressure of
800 MPa. The compacts were then sintered in a pipe type of
furnace under a control of argon. By adjusting the auto-controlled
power of the induction heat system, the mixed powders were
sintered at 650 1C for 2 h. The heating rate was 200 1C/h. After
consolidation, the specimen was allowed to furnace cool. The
samples were sectioned and examined by an optical microscopy.
Specimens for metallographic observation were prepared by
grinding through 800 grit papers, followed by polishing with
6 mm diamond pastes. Hardnesss of MMCs were measured by
Vickers method after polishing to a 3 mm nish.
The experiment is designed on a three level robust design
based on DOE. This experimental design is called an orthogonal
array and it becomes a more effective method to practicing
engineers and scientists. This experiment species four principle
wear testing conditions including the abrasive size (A), applied
load (B), sliding distance (C) and type of tested materials or
hardness of tested samples (D) as the process parameters. The
experiments were carried out to analyze the inuence of testing
parameters on weight losses of various MMCs. Code and levels of
control parameters are shown in Table 1. This table shows that
the experimental plan had three levels. A standard Taguchi
experimental plan with notation L9 (34) was chosen. Each
combination of experiments will be repeated twice to acquire a
more accurate result in the process. Interaction between the
testing parameters is neglected in the present study. In the
Taguchi method, the experimental results are transformed into a
signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. The-lower-the-better quality
characteristic was selected due to wear resistance of the tested
samples. Initial testing parameters are A2B2C2 of second level.
A pin-on-disc type of apparatus was employed to evaluate the
wear characteristics of materials against SiC abrasive papers, at a
sliding speed of 1 m s  1. The emery paper was xed to a 12 mm
thick, and 160 mm diameter steel wheel to serve as the abrasive
medium. The specimen of 10 mm in diameter with a surface area
of 100 mm2 for MMCs was abraded under different loads against
Table 1
Control factors and their levels.
Symbol

Testing parameter

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

A
B
C
D

Abrasive grain size, mm


Applied load, N
Sliding distance, M
Particle size, mm or hardness
of material, HV

140
10
18
33/78

70
20
36
14/70

20
30
54
9/61

Hardnesss of MMCs increased with increasing the particle


size, ranged from 61, 70 to 78 HV, respectively. Table 2 shows the
experimental lay out and results of the abrasive wear of MMCs.
Analysis of the inuence of each control factor was performed by
Minitab 15 release.
The effects of the control factors were plotted onto graphs, as
shown in Fig. 1 for S/N ratios. This gure clearly indicated how
factor A and factor D and other factors (B, C) changed. The best
weight loss value is at the higher S/N values in the response
graph. Optimal testing conditions of these control factors can be
very easily determined from the S/N response graph. It was
evident that the effect was different for each type of the
composite. The weight loss obviously increased as grain size
increased from 20 to 70 mm or 140 mm since the penetration
ability of abrasive increased with increasing the abrasive size on
the abrasives [1,2]. The higher S/N ratio was obtained as the
particle size in MMCs decreased. It meant that the weight loss
decreased with decreasing the particle size because the hardness
of MMCs decreased, followed by the factor D.
The three-level effects and interactions of each three factors of
A, B, C and D on the abrasive wear are shown in Fig. 2. The weight
loss obviously increased as grain size increased. This is especially
true for the 140 mm reinforced composite (Fig. 2a, b and c). But
there was no signicant interaction effects with the 70 and 20 mm
reinforced samples. Figs. 2d, e and f pointed out the interaction
effects were large on the abrasion wear when the hardness
combined with sliding distance and load. When the materials
hardness were changed from 78 to 61 HV, the weight loss
increased sharply with increasing the factor D from level 1, 2 to
level 3 due to changing hardness of the sample. On the other
hand, the transition point in the weight loss was observed for
level 2 of factor C, at 36 m sliding distance but, a similar trend was
evident for 10 and 20 N load (Fig. 2d). A considerable interaction
was observed between the factors of B and D (Fig. 2e and f). The
weight loss had a tendency to decrease with increasing the factor
C from level 1 to level 3. The higher S/N ratio was also obtained for
54 m sliding distance when the sliding distance combined with
hardness under the level 2 of factor D (Fig. 2f). This suggested that
the extent of the impact of abrasive size depended to the large
extent on the nature of the material. The minimal weight losses
resulted in combination of level 1 of factor A, level 1 of factor B,
level 1 of factor C and level 2 of factor D. Furthermore, it was
Table 2
Experimental lay out, results for the weight loss and their S/N ratios.
Tr.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Control factors

Wear run (g)

Average weight loss


and its S/N ratio

Y1 run
(g)

Y2 run
(g)

Ym
(g)

S/N ratio
(dB)

140
140
140
70
70
70
20
20
20

10
20
30
10
20
30
10
20
30

18
36
54
36
54
18
18
36
54

78
70
61
61
78
70
70
61
78

0.17
0.39
1.20
0.14
0.08
0.10
0.01
0.04
0.03

0.16
0.42
1.40
0.20
0.13
0.14
0.03
0.04
0.03

0.17
0.40
1.30
0.17
0.10
0.12
0.02
0.04
0.03

15.6
7.91
2.31
15.1
19.4
18.2
32.6
27.7
30.4

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Main Effects Plot for SNRA1


A

30
25

Mean of S/N ratio (dB)

20
15
10
20

70

140

10

20

36

54
61
70
Control factors and their levels

30

30
25
20
15
10
18

78

Fig. 1. Main effects plot for S/N ratios (dB).

10

20

Interaction Plot for SNRA1


Control factors and their levels
30
18
36
54
61

70

78
30

A
20
70
140

0
30

15

0
30

15

Mean of S/N ratio (dB)

15

B
10
20
30

C
18
36
54

D
Fig. 2. Three-level effects and interactions plot of control factors viz. abrasive size (A), applied load (B), sliding distance (C) and hardness (D) on the abrasive wear.

observed that the weight loss was maximal for the trial 3 due to
using the highest level of abrasive grain size (140 mm), the lowest
particle size (9 mm) or hardness (61 HV), highest level of sliding
distance (54 m) and applied load (30 N) effect on the weight loss
of the tested samples. It was followed by trial 2 because of
application of rst level of A and second level of D, C, B variables.
The present results indicated that larger particle sizes of the
composites resulted in increased wear resistance. Similar ndings
were also reported by earlier workers [1012,16,17,24].

The control factors were sorted in relation to the difference


values. The S/N response table of the weight loss for MMCs is
presented in Table 3. It could be seen in this table that the
strongest inuence was exerted by factor A, followed by factor D,
respectively. Since the third level of A was about 30.245 dB while
the rst level of A was about 7.063 dB the difference being the
most highest of 23.181 dB, followed by factor D. The factors B
and C showed the least effect since the difference between the
rst level and third level decreased to about 5.692, 3.935 dB,

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respectively. Initial testing parameters were A2B2C2D2 and it


corresponded to 18.416 dB for MMCs.

ratio was about 30.245 dB and its corresponding value was about
0.030 g.

3.1. Conrmation tests


4. ANOVA
The nal step was to verify the improvement of the quality
characteristic using the optimal levels of the design parameters
(A1B1C1D3). The S/N ratio was calculated as the following
equation, selecting the optimal levels of control factors;

Z^ i Zm

N
X

Zi Zm

i0

where Zm is the total mean S/N ratio, Zi is the mean S/N ratio of
the results at the optimal level and N is the number of the main
design parameters that affect the quality characteristics [1].
According to this prediction, it could be inferred that the S/N
ratio was found to be 38.774 dB. It was corresponded to about
0.0115 g, which was the smaller value within the obtained
experimental results (Table 4). This table shows a comparison of
the predicted weight loss with the actual weight loss using the
optimal testing parameters. The increase of the S/N ratio from
initial testing parameters to optimal testing parameters was
about 20.358 dB, which meant that the weight loss was increased
by about 2.105 times. Therefore, based on the S/N ratio analysis,
the optimal testing parameters for the weight loss for composites
were the factor A at 1 level, factor B at level 1, the factor C at level
1 and factor D at 3 level. It could be seen in Table 4 that the
difference jZi;ver Zi;cal j was in all cases within the reasonable limit.
However, the optimal weight loss could be calculated based on
ANOVA results using the signicant factors. In this case, the S/N
Table 3
S/N response table for the weight loss of various MMCs.
Symbol

A
B
C
D

Mean S/N ratio (dB) for various sizes of MMCs


Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Maxmin.

7.063
21.108
20.504
21.793

17.569
18.352
17.804
19.567

30.245
15.416
16.568
13.517

23.181
5.692
3.935
8.275

The ANOVA was used to investigate which design parameters


signicantly affected the wear resistance of MMCs and to check
the adequacy of the models under development. The ANOVA
results for the current study are listed in Table 5. It was clear that
factor A had statistical and physical signicance on the abrasive
wear, but the effect of factor D was found to be small. It should be
noted that the error associated to the ANOVA table has 7.30, but
factor C and B had no signicant effect. The last column of the
table indicated the P % of each factor on the total variation. It
could be observed that the factor A (P E81.57%) had a signicant
inuence on the weight loss of MMCs, but the factor D (P E11.0%)
had a slight effect while other factors are minimum.
The result of the previous work on ANOVA for the composite is
shown in Table 6 [1]. Based on the 95% condence level, factors of
A (abrasive size), factor C (reinforcement introduced or hardness)
and interaction of A * C were signicant while other factors were
pooled. The abrasive factor (PE 29.9%), reinforcement factor
(PE 17.9%) had a signicant effect on the weight loss of MMCs
while applied load, B factor (PE4.77%) had no signicant effect
on it. However, the interaction of A*C (PE30.9%) presented
signicant percentage of contribution while A*D (PE3.72%)
presented an insignicant percentage of contribution on the
obtained results. It could be noted that in percentage
contribution, the effects of interactions of A*B, B*D, C*D were
small, totaling slightly more than 2.0%. These factors were pooled.
The pooled error was about 7.81%. However, as effects of small
factors were pooled, the percentage contributions and the
condence levels of the remaining factors decreased [1]. For
example, it might be observed that the abrasive size factor C
(PE 28.94%) and the reinforcement size factor A(PE16.9%) had a
signicant inuence on the weight loss of MMCs while the
applied load factor B(PE3.79%) had no signicant effect on it.
However, the interaction factors of A*C (PE29.9%) presented a
signicant percentage of contribution on the obtained results. As
a result, the pooled error increased up to 14.75%.

Table 4
Results of the conrmation experiment for the weight loss of MMCs.
Initial testing parameters

Optimal testing parameters

Level

A2B2C2D2

Weight loss (g)


S/N ratio (dB)
S/N ratio based on ANOVA results
Improvement in S/N ratio (dB)

0.120
18.416

Predict.
A1B1C1D3

Exper.
A1B1C13

Zi,verZi,cal

Differ.

0.0115
38.774
30.247

0.0094
40.5
40.5

0.002
1.726
10.25

20.358

Table 5
Results of the analysis of variance for MMCs.
Testing parameters

Degree of freedom (DF)

Sum of squares (SS)

Mean of square (MS)

Test-F (5%)

Contribution (%)

Abrasive grain size, mm


Applied load, N
Sliding distance, m
Hardness, HV
Error
Total

2
(2)
(2)
2
4
8

808.4

110
72.6
991

404.2
Pooled
Pooled
55
18.15

22.27

3.03

81.57

11.09
7.30
100%

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Table 6
Results of the analysis of variance for MMCs [1].
Symbol

Sum of squares (SS)

Degree of freedom (DF)

Mean of square (MS)

Theoretical calculation of F (Fcal)

Contributions (%) for sum of squares (P)

A
B
AB
C
AC
D
BC
AD
BD
CD

81.109
21.619
1.103
135.55
140.06
12.770
9.579
16.888
0.310
0.755

1
1
(1)
1
1
1
1
1
(1)
(1)

81.109
21.619
Pooled
135.554
140.06
12.770
9.579
16.888
Pooled
Pooled

12.211
3.254

17.90
4.77

20.408
21.080
1.922
1.442
2.542

29.90
30.90
2.81
2.10
3.72

4.422

Error
Total

35.382
452.96

15

A considerable difference occurred between these two types of


MMCs. This might be due to production method applied, model
used by not considering the interaction effects and testing
conditions. The production method was PM route for the current
work, but casting method was used for the previous one. The
particle sizes were about 33, 100 mm for the PM composite and
casting composite, respectively. This might be the other reason for
getting a signicant difference between these two types of
composites. ANOVA was carried out to indicate the difference
for both composites and the contribution factors were highly
different from each other. For example, the percentage contributions of grain size and hardness were about 81.57 and 11.09,
respectively (Table 5). For the earlier work, however, the
percentage contributions of the grain size and hardness were
about 29.9, 17.90, respectively (Table 6). In the present study of
MMCs, the abrasive wear behaviour depended not only on the
abrasive grain size, testing condition, type of the material, but also
production method, hardness, particle size, type of model formed
by not considering the interaction effects.

5. Conclusions
Aluminium matrix reinforced with 15 wt% SiC particles were
prepared by powder metallurgy method and the wear behaviour
of the composites with different sizes was investigated using pinon-disc machine against various SiC abrasive grits.
The L9 (34) orthogonal arrays were adopted to investigate the
effects of operating variables and hardness on the abrasive wear
of various composites. The results indicated that the abrasive
grain size exerted the greatest effect on the wear, followed the
hardness. The conrmation experiments were conducted to verify
the optimal testing parameters. In addition, larger particle sizes of
composites led to more wear resistance than those of smaller
particle sizes of composites. Moreover, the percentage contribution of grain size and hardness was about 81.57 and 11.09,
respectively. This might be due to production method of PM,
particle size, model used by not considering the interaction
effects, and testing conditions. However, the earlier work [1]
indicated that the percentage contributions of the grain size and
hardness were about 29.9, 17.90, respectively.

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