The Effect of La Addition on the Microstructure and Tensile Properties of Hot-Extruded Al 15%Mg 2 Si Composite

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1 The Effect of La Addition on the Microstructure and Tensile Properties of Hot-Extruded Al 15%Mg 2 Si Composite Paper Presenter: S.H. Allameh 1 A. Akhlaghi 2, M. Noghani 3, M. Emamy 4. 1,4- School of Metallurgy and Materials, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran 2,3- Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran Abstract This work was done in order to investigate the influence of different amounts of lanthanum (0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 5 wt.%) and hot-extrusion process on the microstructure and tensile properties of Al 15wt.%Mg 2 Si eutectic alloy. Microstructural examination was carried out using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The presence and crystal structure of different phases were identified by XRD analysis. The cast specimens have been homogenized and extruded at 480 C at an extrusion ratio of 12:1. The results showed that La addition changes the morphology of eutectic Mg 2 Si phase from flake-like to partially dot-like shape. The primary Mg 2 Si size decreased up to 2 wt.% La. It was found that addition of 5 wt% La results in the coarsening of the primary Mg 2 Si. Hot-extrusion was found to be powerful in breaking the eutectic network and changing the size and morphology of primary Mg 2 Si phase. As the 1 - M. Sc. Student 2 - M. Sc. Student 3 -Professor 4 - Full Professor 1

2 amount of La raises up to 3 wt.%, ultimate tensile strength (UTS) increases from 220 MPa to 255 MPa and then decreases with addition of 5 wt% La. Keywords: Al-Mg 2 Si, Microstructure, Tensile properties, Extrusion. Introduction The Al and Mg based composites reinforced by in-situ Mg 2 Si phase have been recently introduced as a new group of particulate metal matrix composites (PMMCs) since the intermetallic compound Mg 2 Si formed during solidification exhibits a high melting temperature, a low density, a high hardness, a low thermal expansion coefficient and a relatedly high elastic modulus[1]. Thus, Al-Mg 2 Si composites have high potential as candidates to replace Al-Si alloys used in aerospace and engine applications. However, the conventional casting process usually produces coarse primary or eutectic Mg 2 Si phases, which would deteriorate the performances of the materials and prevent their industrial applications. Therefore, controlling of the morphology and the size of the primary and eutectic Mg 2 Si phase is a key problem for gaining excellent mechanical properties. Some measures, including the addition of Sr[2], P[3], Y[4], as well as advanced processing techniques, such as Bridgman solidification[5], semisolid metal (SSM) processing [6] and centrifugal casting have been taken for improving the morphology and the size of Mg 2 Si phases to enhance the mechanical properties of the materials[7]. The effect of mechanical deformation is somewhat more dominant in refining the primary and eutectic Mg 2 Si. In this paper, the effect of La addition and extrusion process on the morphology and the size distribution of primary α-al, (α- Al+Mg 2 Si) eutectic cell and eutectic Mg 2 Si of Al 15%Mg 2 Si metal matrix composite were investigated. This microstructural refining subsequently improves the mechanical properties of Al-Mg 2 Si composite. 2

3 Experimental procedure Industrially pure Al (99.8%), Mg (99.9%) and Si (99.5%) metals were used to prepare Al-5.2 wt.% Si-9.8 wt.% Mg alloy primary ingots of Al-15% Mg 2 Si eutectic alloy. All materials were preheated in an electrical resistance furnace using a 10 kg graphite crucible. The eutectic alloy ingots were remelted in a small SiC crucible, 1 kg in capacity using a resistance furnace in order to prepare alloys with 0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 wt.% La. During melting, when the temperature reached 750 C, lanthanum was added to the molten alloy. After cleaning off the slag, alloys with different compositions were poured into a cast iron mold, preheated to 250 C. After casting, the composite billets were cut and machined into samples 28 mm in length and 29 mm in diameter in order to fit into the extrusion container. All billets were exposed to homogenizing treatment in an electrical furnace at 500 C for 4 h and then slow cooling in furnace. subsequently, these billets were hot extruded using a hydraulic press at a ram speed of 10 mm/s with the extrusion ratio of 12:1 at 450 C. Extrusion process was carried out applying graphite based oil between samples and die. According to ASTM E8-04 small size, round tensile samples were machined along the extrusion direction [8]. Tensile tests were carried out in a computerized testing machine (SANTAM-STM20) at a crosshead speed of 1 mm/min. All tensile test were done at room temperature. The schematic of a tensile test specimen is seen in Fig. 1. Metallographic specimens were also prepared following polishing and etching procedure in hydrofluoric acid solution (5% HF). Microstructural parameters were determined using an optical microscope. The microstructural characteristics of the specimens were also examined by SEM performed in a VegaTescan SEM. The second phase was identified by XRD analysis. Fig. 1. Schematic of tensile test samples. 3

4 Results and discussion Phases and microstructures Fig. 2 shows the microstructures of Al 15%Mg 2 Si metal matrix composite in as-cast and extruded conditions. It can be seen that homogenization treatment and extrusion process alter the morphology of pseudo-eutectic Mg 2 Si phase significantly. Also, applying extrusion process introduces fine particles by breaking the eutectic network [9]. a b Fig. 2. Microstructures of Al 15%Mg2Si metal matrix composite at (a)as-cast and (b)extruded conditions. Fig. 3a e shows the microstructures of Al 15%Mg 2 Si eutectic alloy with 0, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0, and 3.0 wt% La additions after homogenization and applying extrusion process. It is seen that the primary Mg 2 Si reduces in size up to 1.0% La. With addition of 3.0% La they become coarse and don't show a foursquare morphology anymore. It is because of La accumulation at the Mg 2 Si interface with the matrix and distortion of particles from as-seen morphology. It is important to attend that after La addition and extrusion process, the morphology of eutectic Mg2Si phase changes from flake-like to dot-like and eutectic network is broken significantly. Therefore, hot extrusion can contribute to more refinement and even distribution of Mg 2 Si eutectics in the matrix structure [10]. Further microstructural observations on the specimens containing La showed the formation of some intermetallic compounds in the Al Mg 2 Si eutectic alloy (bright areas in Fig. 4). 4

5 a c b d e Fig. 3. Microstructures of extruded Al 15%Mg2Si with various La contents: (a)0wt%, (b)0.1wt%,(c)0.5wt%,(d)1.0wt%, and (e)3.0wt%. XRD patterns of Al-15%Mg2Si-5%La composite (Fig. 5) revealed the newly formed intermetallic compound to be LaSi 2. The reason of formation of this compound needs more pondering. With addition of La to the melt it prefers to react with Si rather than other present elements. Thus, the composed intermetallic 5

6 compound would be LaSi 2. Formation of intermetallics with other elements is also plausible but they aren't detectable in the XRD pattern due to their minor amounts. a b Course Intermetallics Fig. 4. SEM microstructures of Al 15%Mg2Si after extrusion with (a)0.5wt% La and (b)3wt% La. 6

7 Fig. 5: XRD patterns of Al-15%Mg 2 Si-5%La composite. Tensile Properties Fig. 6 shows UTS and elongation values of the alloys containing different La contents. There is a reduction in both the UTS and elongation values in the sample with 0.1%La. It is declared that this reduction relates to the nucleation nullification of La for present carbon in the from graphite crucible. It can be seen that the addition of La improves UTS values at higher concentrations ( 1 wt.% La). As the amount of La raises up to 3 wt.%, UTS increases from 220 MPa to 231 MPa which shows 5% improvement. This increment is based on the presence of La-rich intermetallics with high elastic modulus but at larger La content (3%) reduction in UTS value occurs. On the other hand, after initial decrease of elongation, it increases to 6.4% which shows that the new intermetallics don't have harmful effect of stress concentration at their edges. 7

8 Fig. 6. UTS and elongation values of Al 15wt.% Mg2Si as a function of added La, in hot extruded condition. Conclusion The effects of different amounts of La and extrusion process on the microstructures of Al 15% Mg 2 Si alloy were studied. The following conclusions can be drawn: (1) Applying homogenization and extrusion process introduces fine particles by breaking eutectic network. It also altered the morphology of pseudo-eutectic Mg 2 Si phase significantly. (2) The addition of high concentrations of La (3.0 wt.%) to the Al 15% Mg 2 Si composite introduced the LaSi 2 intermetallic compound and changes the morphology of primary Mg 2 Si from foursquare to irregular. (3) The formation of intermetallics in the microstructure enhances both UTS and elongation before failure which shows the new intermetallics don't have the stress concentration effect. References 1. Zhang, J., et al., Microstructural development of Al 15wt.% Mg 2 Si in situ composite with mischmetal addition. Materials Science and Engineering: A, (1): p Qin, Q., et al., Strontium modification and formation of cubic primary Mg 2 Si crystals in Mg 2 Si/Al composite. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, (1): p

9 3. Qin, Q., et al., Semisolid microstructure of Mg 2 Si/Al composite by cooling slope cast and its evolution during partial remelting process. Materials Science and Engineering: A, (1): p Qin, Q. and Y. Zhao, Nonfaceted growth of intermetallic Mg 2 Si in Al melt during rapid solidification. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, (1): p. L28-L Liu, Z., J. Lin, and Q. Jing, Effect of mixed rare earth oxides and CaCO 3 modification on the microstructure of an in-situ Mg 2 Si/Al-Si composite. Rare Metals, (2): p Jun, Y., et al., Laser (Nd: YAG) cladding of AZ91D magnesium alloys with Al+ Si+ Al 2 O 3. Journal of alloys and compounds, (1): p Lin, X., C. Liu, and H. Xiao, Fabrication of Al Si Mg functionally graded materials tube reinforced with in situ Si/Mg 2 Si particles by centrifugal casting. Composites Part B: Engineering, (1): p Standard, A., E8-04,. Standard Test Methods for Tension Testing of Metallic Materials, Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Razaghian, A., A. Bahrami, and M. Emamy, The influence of Li on the tensile properties of extruded in situ Al 15% Mg 2 Si composite. Materials Science and Engineering: A, : p Bahrami, A., et al., The effect of Zr on the microstructure and tensile properties of hot-extruded Al Mg 2 Si composite. Materials & Design, : p

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