Mechanical behavior of shock-wave consolidated nano and micron-sized Al/SiC and Al/Al2O3 two-phase systems characterized by light and electron metallography

Noe Gaudencio Alba-Baena, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation reports the results of the exploratory study of two-phase systems consisting of 150 µm diameter aluminum powder mechanically mixed with 30 nm and 30 µm diameter SiC and Al2O3 powders (in volume fractions of 2, 4, and 21 percent). Powders were mechanically mixed and green compacted to ∼80% theorical density in a series of cylindrical fixtures (steel tubes). The compacted arrangements were explosively consolidated using ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) to form stacks of two-phase systems. As result, successfully consolidated cylindrical monoliths of 50 mm (height) x 32 mm (in diameter) were obtained. By taking advantage of the use of SWC (shock wave consolidation) and WEDM (wire-electric discharge machining), the heterogeneous systems were machined in a highly efficiency rate. The sample cuts used for characterization and mechanical properties testing, require the use of less that 10cc of each monolith, in consequence there was preserved an average of 60% of the obtained system monoliths. Consolidated test cylinders of the pure Al and two-phase composites were characterized by optical metallography and TEM. The light micrographs for the five explosively consolidated regimes: aluminum powder, nano and micron-sized Al/Al2O3 systems, and the nano and micron-sized Al/SiC systems exhibit similar ductility in the aluminum grains. Low volume fraction systems exhibit small agglomerations at the grain boundaries for the Al/Al2O3 system and the Al/SiC system reveal a well distributed phase at the grain boundaries. Large and partially bonded agglomerations were observable in the nano-sized high volume fraction (21%) systems, while the micron-sized Al/ceramic systems exhibit homogeneous distribution along the aluminum phase grains. TEM images showed the shock-induced dislocation cell structure, which has partially recrystallized to form a nano grain structure in the consolidated aluminum powder. Furthermore, the SiC nano-agglomerates appeared to have been shock consolidated into a contiguous phase regime bonded to aluminum grains in the nano-sized Al/SiC systems. ^ Mechanical properties were measured from the pure Al powder reference monoliths showing that the starting Al powder had a Vickers hardness of ∼24HV 25; in contrast to pure Al explosively consolidated reference cylinders that had a residual hardness of ∼43HV25. Average Rockwell hardnesses were also compared with room temperature stress-strain data measured for tensile specimens cut from the test cylinders. The results were compared with rule-of-mixtures formalisms applied to these novel two-phase systems. Correspondingly the Rockwell hardness for 21% SiC and Al2O3 mixtures in Al increased by ∼60%, from the Al reference (single-phase) monolith; while the elongation declined by ∼60%. The prominent Al intergranular-like fracture within the 21% (volume) SiC or Al2O3 phase regime was observed by SEM. At 21% (volume) SiC a distinct 2-phase Al/SiC regime was formed with fracture occurring prominently in the SiC consolidated phase. The fracture surface features are somewhat characteristic of the signature variation in the stress-strain diagrams. The aluminum ductile-dimple fracture characteristics, the failure around the SiC particles and particle agglomerates producing the discontinuous yield-like phenomenon and the poor mechanical behavior of the nano-sized Al/SiC systems are characteristic of the significantly different fracture features. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Alba-Baena, Noe Gaudencio, "Mechanical behavior of shock-wave consolidated nano and micron-sized Al/SiC and Al/Al2O3 two-phase systems characterized by light and electron metallography" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3242137.