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Journal of ASTM International, March 2006, Vol. 3, No.

3
Paper ID JAI12934
Available online at www.astm.org

K. H. W. Seah,1 S. C. Sharma,2 and M. Krishna2

Damping Behavior of Al6061/Albite MMCs


ABSTRACT: Al6061 based metal matrix composites MMCs were prepared with 2, 4, and 6 % by weight
of albite particulates, respectively, using the liquid metallurgical technique. Sample specimens of dimensions 70 mm by 10 mm by 2 mm were machined from the prepared ingots. The damping properties of the
unreinforced matrix alloy and the MMCs were studied over a temperature range of 50 C to 500 C using a
dynamic mechanical analyzer. The damping capacity of the composites was observed to increase with the
increase in temperature whereas the dynamic modulus was found to decrease with increase in temperature. The damping capacity at a lower temperature may be attributed to the coefficient of thermal expansion
mismatch induced dislocations and intrinsic damping of the matrix alloy whereas damping capacity at a
higher temperature may be attributed to the matrix/reinforcement interface. Theoretical calculations accurately predicted the damping capacities of the specimen materials only up to the eutectic temperature of the
matrix material 200 C. Above this temperature, the discrepancy between theoretical and experimental
values increased sharply with increase in temperature. An explanation for this phenomenon is proposed in
this paper.
KEYWORDS: Al6061 alloy, albite, MMCs, damping capacity, coefficient of thermal expansion

Introduction
In recent years, aluminum alloy based metal matrix composites MMCs offer designers many added
benefits as they are particularly suited for applications requiring good strength at high temperature, good
structural rigidity, dimensional stability, light weight 15 and low thermal expansion 6. A low coefficient of thermal expansion CTE and a high damping capacity are desirable for applications such as
electronic heat sinks and space structures, respectively.
The damping capacity of a material refers to its ability to convert mechanical vibrational energy into
thermal energy. Passive damping is a critically important material property from the viewpoint of vibration
suppression in aerospace and submarine structures 7. With the advent of MMC technology, it became
possible to modify the damping behavior of metals and alloys by combining them with nonmetallic phases.
Ceramic-reinforced metals and alloys may combine the high ductility and toughness of the matrix with the
high strength and high modulus characteristics of the ceramic particles while often retaining the same level
of damping capacity 8,9. The dynamic modulus or the stiffness of a material undergoing dynamic loading
is an important parameter in the study of inter-atomic potentials, creep behavior, and thermal expansion
10. Measurement of dynamic modulus in MMCs often provides a more flexible and accurate alternative
to standard static testing techniques.
Earlier research has shown that albite particle reinforced Al alloy MMCs are lightweight, have low
CTE 11,12, excellent mechanical properties 13,14, good wear resistance 15, and good corrosion
resistance 16. The present work reports a study of the damping behavior over a wide temperature range
of albite particulate reinforced Al6061 alloy MMCs fabricated by the compocasting technique. The unreinforced Al6061 alloy was also subjected to identical tests to enable comparative study. In the present
work, a dynamic mechanical analyzer DMA, model 983, Dupont, was used to measure dynamic modulus
E and loss modulus E.
Several papers in the open literature have been devoted to the low temperature damping in MMCs and
some models have been proposed to describe the transient damping of these materials 1719. However,
the experimental and theoretical study on damping at high temperature have not been fully addressed. The
Manuscript received May 23, 2005; accepted for publication September 27, 2005; published December 2005.
1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576.
2
Research and Development, Department of Mechanical Engineering, R. V. College of Engineering, Mysore Road,
Bangalore560-059, Karnataka, India.
Copyright 2006 by ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959.

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TABLE 1Chemical composition of Al6061 alloy and albite in weight percentage.

Mg
0.92

Si
0.76
Silica 6SiO2
68.7

Chemical composition of Al6061 alloy wt percentage


Fe
Cu
Ti
Cr
Zn
Mn
Be
V
0.28
0.22
0.10
0.07
0.06
0.04
0.003
0.01
Chemical composition of AlbiteNa Al Si3 O8 wt percentage
Alumina
Soda
19.5
11.8

Al
Bal.

objective of this paper is to investigate the damping behavior at both low and high temperatures experimentally and theoretically.
General Theory
For a periodic stress imposed on a specimen the equations for stress and strain are given by
= 0 expit

= 0 expit

where 0 and 0 are the stress and strain amplitudes, = 2f where f is the vibrational frequency, t is the
time, and is the loss angle by which the strain lags behind the stress. In an ideally elastic material,
= 0 and / = E, the elastic modulus. However, most materials are anelastic so that 0 and the ratio of
/ is complex. The complex modulus E* may be expressed as
E* = E + iE

Here E is the real part of the complex modulus and is referred to as the storage modulus or dynamic
modulus and E is the imaginary part of the complex modulus and is referred to as the loss modulus. The
factor tan = E / E represents the damping capacity and the term = 2 tan is known as the specific
damping capacity SDC.
Experimental Procedure
Material Preparation
The matrix material used for the MMCs in this study, Al6061, has excellent casting properties and
reasonable strength. This alloy is best suited for mass production of lightweight metal castings. Albite
particulates of 30 50 m were used as the reinforcement and the albite content in the composites was
varied from 2 to 6 % in steps of 2 % by weight. The particulates were uniform in size and shape roughly
spherical in shape. The liquid metallurgy technique was used to fabricate the composite materials in
which the albite particles were introduced into a pool of molten Al6061 alloy through a vortex created in
the melt using an alumina-coated stainless steel stirrer rotating at 550 r / min. The coating of alumina on
the stirrer is essential to prevent the migration of ferrous ions from the stirrer material into the molten
metal. Preheated 500 C albite particles were added into the vortex of the liquid melt which was degassed using pure nitrogen for about 3 to 4 min. The resulting mixture was poured into preheated permanent molds. Table 1 shows the chemical compositions of Al6061 and albite.
Specimens were machined to dimensions of 70 mm by 10 mm by 2 mm. The specimen surfaces were
polished with 1 m diamond paste. Four samples of each composite were tested under identical conditions
to ensure that the results are reproducible, and the average values are reported.
Dynamical Mechanical Analyzer (DMA) Testing
The dynamic mechanical analyzer DMA, model 983 Dupont, consists of sample arms and clamps, a
flexure pivot, a Linear Variable Differential Transformer LVDT, an electromagnetic driver, and a temperature programmer interfaced with a computer. The specimen is subjected to a flexural sinusoidal strain
with constant amplitude and the resultant bending stress is measured simultaneously. The sample is held
between two end-clamps and enclosed in an environmental chamber that provides heating and cooling

SEAH ET AL. ON DAMPING BEHAVIOR 3


TABLE 2(a) Dynamic modulus (E), (b) loss modulus (E), and (c) damping capacity and specific damping
capacity of Al6061/albite MMCs as a function of temperature.
Temperature
deg C
50
100
200
300
400
500
50
100
200
300
400
500

50
100
200
300
400
500

Weight percentage of particulate reinforcement


2%
4%
Dynamic modulus, E in GPa
127.13
151.10
144.85
125.74
149.28
146.42
121.41
145.71
146.42
109.99
132.85
137.85
89.99
109.28
115.70
64.28
81.43
88.76
Loss modulus E in GPa
1.92
2.44
2.46
2.03
2.61
2.71
3.17
3.83
3.80
4.92
6.96
7.87
9.71
12.93
13.77
10.76
14.48
17.06
Damping Capacity, Tan
Specific damping capacity, 2 Tan
0.0151
0.0162
0.0170
0.0949
0.1018
0.1068
0.0162
0.0175
0.0185
0.1018
0.1100
0.1163
0.0261
0.0263
0.0264
0.1640
0.1652
0.1659
0.0447
0.0524
0.0571
0.2809
0.3293
0.3589
0.1079
0.1183
0.1191
0.6782
0.7433
0.7486
0.1675
0.1779
0.1923
1.0522
1.1176
1.2081
0%

6%
153.33
151.93
147.74
140.64
121.29
95.71
2.70
2.95
4.22
9.77
15.21
18.65

0.0176
0.1106
0.0194
0.1219
0.0286
0.1797
0.0695
0.4368
0.1254
0.7882
0.1950
1.2251

capabilities. The electromagnetic driver applies flexural strain to the specimen and the resultant stress on
the sample is measured by the LVDT. In the present study, specimens were subjected to a 250 m
peak-to-peak displacement at the drive clamp corresponding to a maximum strain of 2.6 104. The
sample length measured between the clamps is approximately 38 mm. The temperature of the specimen is
varied from 50 to 500 C at a rate of 10 C / min and the corresponding values of average dynamic modulus and average loss modulus were plotted.
Results
Some of the parameters commonly used to measure damping capacity include loss tangent tan , loss
factor inverse quality factor Q1 and specific damping capacity . For relatively small damping
capacity, these quantities are related by the following equation 17.
Tan = Q1 = = /2

The experimental results at 10 Hz for dynamic modulus, loss modulus, and specific damping capacity for
the unreinforced matrix material as well as for the composites tested within the temperature range of
50 to 500 C are tabulated in Table 2. To facilitate comparison, these results including error bars are
plotted in Figs. 1a, 1b, and 1c, respectively.
It is evident from Fig. 1a that as temperature increases, the dynamic modulus decreases monotonically for all the materials tested. The rate of dynamic modulus decrease rises as temperature increases, a
phenomenon that is most pronounced above 200 C, which happens to be the eutectic temperature of the
matrix material Al6061. Figure 1b shows that as temperature increases, the loss modulus increases
monotonically for all the materials tested. The rate of loss modulus increase rises as temperature increases,
again especially above 200 C, but levels off above 400 C. In the same token, Fig. 1c shows that as
temperature increases, the specific damping capacity increases monotonically for all the materials tested
and the rate of specific damping capacity increase rises as temperature increases, especially above 200 C.

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FIG. 1Dynamic mechanical analyzer plot to show (a) dynamic modulus, (b) loss modulus, and (c)
specific damping capacity as functions of temperature for Al MMCs at 10 Hz.
It is also evident from these plots that at any given temperature, the storage modulus, the loss modulus and
the specific damping capacity all increase as albite content is increased, although the effect is less pronounced in the case of specific damping capacity.
Discussion
A variety of mechanisms could contribute to the overall damping behavior of metal alloys and composites
18. It has been reported 19 that Al alloys generally exhibit high damping when quenched from the
+ phase above its eutectic temperature of 200 C. This explains the overall high damping capacity of
the base alloy obtained in the present work compared to those of other aluminum alloys.
The contribution of albite particulates to the overall MMC damping may be attributed to the increase
in dislocation density in the matrix as a result of thermal strain mismatch between the ceramic particulate
and Al6061 matrix during fabrication. These dislocations, which are generated to accommodate the residual thermal strains, are located primarily near the reinforcement/matrix interface and decrease with
increasing distance from the interface 20. The mechanism of dislocation damping is based on the
dislocation movement lagging behind the applied stress and is explained by the Granato-Lucke Theory
21, which assumes that losses occur due to dislocations breaking away from weak pinning points and that
the sweeping motion dissipates energy in proportion to the area traversed. Material damping is related to
the dislocations by the following equation.
Q1 = C1/0exp C2/0

where C1 and C2 are material constants and 0 is the strain amplitude. The coefficient of thermal expansion
CTE of Al6061 alloy is 26 m / C whereas that of albite is 7.4 m / C. This large difference in their
CTE values is expected to cause significant thermal-mismatch-induced dislocations within a Al6061/albite
MMC, resulting in an increase in the specific damping capacity as albite content is increased. However, the
contribution of dislocations to damping may be expected to fall with increasing temperature, as their
concentration is decreased 22.

SEAH ET AL. ON DAMPING BEHAVIOR 5


TABLE 3Estimated thermoelastic contributory damping capacity of Al6061/albite MMCs.

Temp, C
50
100
200
300
400
500

Calculated
1.48
1.85
2.28
2.70
3.50
3.65

Contributory Damping Capacity, tan 102


0% albite
6% albite
Experimental
Calculated
Experimental
1.51
1.79
1.76
1.62
2.25
1.94
2.61
2.77
2.86
4.47
3.55
6.95
10.79
4.53
12.54
16.74
4.76
19.49

Hence, the interface between reinforcement and matrix plays an important role in the damping behavior of composite materials. In addition to the presence of dislocations due to the CTE effect, the interface
may also be characterized by its bonding strength as well as the existence of reaction products, voids and
impurities. At elevated temperatures, the interfacial effects may become more significant because the
matrix alloy becomes even softer relative to the ceramic particulates, the latter retaining their hardness at
high temperatures.
A theory regarding the contribution of the reinforcement/matrix interface to damping has been offered
by Schoeck 23. Assuming that a viscous boundary exists at the interface at high temperatures, the
contribution to damping is approximately given by
Q1 4.51 Vf/22

where = Poissions ratio= 0.33, Vf = volume fraction of albite particulate= 0.0799 equivalent to 4 wt.%
This yields Q1 = 0.0146, a value consistent with the observed increase in damping at elevated temperatures.
An elastothermodynamic damping mechanism was proposed by Zener 24 based on the fact that
energy is dissipated by the irreversible heat flow within a material caused by stress-induced thermal
gradients. Whenever a material is stressed in a reversible adiabatic process constant entropy, there is
always a change in temperature, which may be very small. This phenomenon is the well known thermoelastic effect. In a real situation, heat is conducted from a high temperature region to a low temperature
region and as a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy is increased which manifests
itself as an irreversible conversion of useful mechanical energy into heat. The contribution to damping due
to this thermoelastic effect is given by the following equation 24.
tan =

Eu2T0
C1 + 22

where = a2C / 2Kth, Eu = unrelaxed elastic modulus, = coefficient of thermal expansion, T0 = absolute
temperature, C = specific heat/unit volume, = angular frequency, = relaxation time, a = beam thickness
and Kth = thermal conductivity. tan shall henceforth be referred to as the Contributory Damping Capacity.
In the present work, measurements are made at the natural frequency of vibration of the specimen in
each case so that = 1. The estimated thermoelastic contribution to damping capacity at certain temperatures is given in Table 3 and plotted in Fig. 2.
In order to estimate the applicability of Eq 7, this value was used to predict the Contributory Damping
Capacities for the Al6061 matrix material and the Al6061 composite containing 6 % albite. A comparison
of the resultant theoretical data with the corresponding experimental results obtained from the Dynamic
Mechanical Analyser DMA in Fig. 2 shows that there is very good agreement between the calculated and
the experimental values for damping capacity from 50 to 200 C, the latter being the eutectic temperature.
However, above 200 C, the theoretical results are significantly lower than the experimental ones. Apparently, above 200 C, the theoretical estimate accounts for only the intrinsic damping mechanisms existent
in the matrix and reinforcement, thereby neglecting any additional damping mechanism effects arising as
a result of interfaces and any interaction between the matrix and the reinforcement.
Above 200 C, it can be seen that the ever increasing gap between the calculated and the experimental
values as temperature increases is due to the sudden and steep rise in damping capacity with temperature
in the experimental values. This inaccuracy when using the theoretical calculated value to predict the
increase in damping capacity above 200 C suggests that above the eutectic temperature, there is a ther-

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FIG. 2Theoretical contributory damping capacity predictions (dotted lines) vs. experimental values
(bold lines) for Al6061/albite MMCs at 10 Hz.
mally activated temperature dependent increase in contributions to the damping capacity from other
mechanisms which have not hitherto been accounted for. Thus, it is evident that the model must be
supplemented by other mechanisms such as porosity, thermal expansion mismatch, grain boundaries, etc.,
which can explain the steep increase in damping capacity as temperature rises above the eutectic temperature.
Furthermore, Fig. 2 shows that in all cases, the theoretical calculated estimates of the Contributory
Damping Capacities for the MMCs are consistently much greater that the corresponding ones for the
unreinforced matrix material Al6061. This suggests that as the albite addition is increased, mechanisms
other than those intrinsic to the matrix and reinforcement begin to dominate.
Conclusions
Experimental testing has shown that as temperature increases, the dynamic modulus decreases monotonically for all the materials tested. The rate of dynamic modulus decrease rises as temperature increases, a
phenomenon that is most pronounced above 200 C. As temperature increases, the loss modulus and the
specific damping capacity increase monotonically for all the materials tested. The rate of increase for these
two properties rises as temperature increases, again especially above 200 C. It is also evident from these
plots that at any given temperature, the dynamic modulus, the loss modulus, and the specific damping
capacity all increase as albite content is increased.
There is good agreement between the experimental and calculated theoretical values of the Contributory Damping Capacities of the specimens up to 200 C, above which the theoretical results are significantly lower than the experimental ones. Above 200 C, the theoretical estimate accounts for only the
intrinsic damping mechanisms existent in the matrix and reinforcement, thereby neglecting any additional
damping mechanism effects arising as a result of interfaces and any interaction between the matrix and the
reinforcement.
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