Annealing Effects on Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Ultrafine-Grained Al Composites Reinforced with Nano-Al2O3 by Rotary Swaging
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Microstructure evolution and variations in mechanical properties of Al-Al2O3 nanocomposite produced by powder metallurgy were investigated and compared with commercially pure aluminum (Al-1050) after furnace annealing. Fine gas-atomized Al powder compacts were first sintered in flowing nitrogen, subsequently consolidated into wires by rotary swaging and eventually annealed at 300 and 500 °C for 24 h each. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy was utilized to document the microstructure evolution. Rotary swaging was proven to lead to a marked decrease in grain size. After heavy swaging to true deformation degree of φ = 6 and annealing at 500 °C, obvious recrystallization was observed at Al-1050’s existing grain boundaries and the crystals began to grow perpendicular to the flow direction. In the Al-Al2O3 nanocomposite, fabricated from d50 = 6 μm Al powder, recrystallization partially occurred, while grains were still extremely fine. Due to the dual role of fine-grained Al2O3 dispersion strengthening, the nanocomposite showed improved mechanical performance in terms of tensile strength, approximately twice higher than Al-1050 after annealing at 500 °C.
KeywordsAl composite mechanical properties microstructure evolution powder metallurgy rotary swaging
This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. FRF-TP-16-017A1) and the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2013AA031104).
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