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Metals 2015, 5(1), 70-83; doi:10.3390/met5010070

Microstructure and Properties of Spark Plasma Sintered Aluminum Containing 1 wt.% SiC Nanoparticles

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hugo F. Lopez
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
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Abstract

The low hardness and strength of aluminum, which limits its use in many industrial applications, could be increased through the addition of nanoparticles. However, the appropriate processing method and parameters should be carefully selected in order to achieve the desired improvement in properties. In this work, aluminum was reinforced with low weight fraction (1 wt.%) of SiC nanoparticles and consolidated through spark plasma sintering. The effect of processing parameters on the densification, microstructure, and properties of the processed material was investigated. Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM) equipped with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) facility was used to characterize the microstructure and analyze the reinforcement’s distribution in sintered samples. Phases present were characterized through X-ray diffraction (XRD). A densimeter and a digital microhardness tester were used to measure the density and hardness, respectively. Compressive tests were performed using universal testing machine. A fully dense Al-1 wt.% SiC sample was obtained. Analysis of density and hardness values showed that the influence of applied pressure was more pronounced than heating rate while the influence of sintering temperature was more significant than sintering time. Within the range of parameters used, the highest values of the characterized properties were obtained at a sintering temperature of 600 °C, sintering time of 10 min, pressure of 50 MPa, and heating rate of 200 °C/min. View Full-Text
Keywords: aluminum; SiC nanoparticles; microstructure; microhardness; density; spark plasma sintering; compressive strength aluminum; SiC nanoparticles; microstructure; microhardness; density; spark plasma sintering; compressive strength
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Aliyu, I.K.; Saheb, N.; Hassan, S.F.; Al-Aqeeli, N. Microstructure and Properties of Spark Plasma Sintered Aluminum Containing 1 wt.% SiC Nanoparticles. Metals 2015, 5, 70-83.

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