This article presents the results of a study on the microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-Si-Cu-Fe specimens produced by the spark plasma sintering (SPS) technique. The microstructure of the starting powder and bulk specimens was analyzed by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The formation of the icosahedral and decagonal quasi-crystalline phases in the as-gas-atomized powders is described for the first time. It is then shown that these metastable phases transformed into the 1/1 cubicapproximant phase upon heating at about 600 °C. Second, the effects of SPS process parameters such as the temperature and time have been investigated. Owing to the generation of a spark discharge neighboring powder particles, dense cylindrical samples were obtained after a short sintering time of 30 minutes at the temperature of 650 °C. The highest values of the Vickers microhardness, about 8.9 GPa, were obtained when the powders were sintered in the temperature range of 600 °C to 650 °C for a holding time of 30 minutes, while the fracture toughness was found to be inversely proportional to the sintering temperature. However, at the sintering temperature of 650 °C, the fracture toughness increased from about 1.40 to 1.52 MPa c √m as the holding time increased from 10 to 60 minutes. As compared to cast specimens, the enhanced mechanical properties are explained by the refined microstructure resulting from the low temperature and short sintering time applied during SPS processing.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2003 Dec 1|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Metals and Alloys