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Tribology Letters, Vol. 17, No.

3, October 2004 ( 2004) 445

Aluminum metalmatrix composites for automotive applications:


tribological considerations
S.V. Prasada,* and R. Asthanab
a
Principal Member of Technical Sta, Sandia National Laboratories, Materials & Process Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM 87185, USA
b
Associate Professor, Technology Department, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI 54751, USA

Received 28 December 2003; accepted 13 June 2004

Aluminum alloys possess a number of mechanical and physical properties that make them attractive for automotive applica-
tions, but they exhibit extremely poor resistance to seizure and galling. Reinforcement of aluminum alloys with solid lubricants,
hard ceramic particles, short bers and whiskers results in advanced metalmatrix composites (MMC) with precise balances of
mechanical, physical and tribological characteristics. Advanced manufacturing technologies such as squeeze inltration of mol-
ten alloys into ber performs can be employed to produce near net-shape components. Brake rotors, pistons, connecting rods
and integrally cast MMC engine blocks are some of the successful applications of Al MMCs in automotive industry. This paper
gives an overview of the tribological behavior of Al MMCs reinforced with hard particles, short bers, and solid lubricants,
and the technologies for producing automotive parts from these novel materials.
KEY WORDS: aluminum composites, wear, friction, automobile engine parts, tribology

1. Introduction techniques for mass production [2]. Advances in the sci-


ence of MMCs present us an opportunity to design
We thank the Editors of Tribology Letters for giving
light-weight aluminum based materials with precise bal-
us an opportunity to contribute to this special issue
ances of mechanical and physical properties, just as
dedicated to Dr. Michael Gardos. One of the coauthors
important the tribological characteristics. In this paper,
of this article (SVP) had his rst encounter with Mike
we shall briey but critically review the current technol-
Gardos at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,
ogy of Al MMCs with emphasis on the friction and
when the former came to the United States in early
wear behavior of aluminum composites that lead to the
1990 to pursue his research on tribology of metal
development of some of the most advanced automotive
matrix composites (MMC). Even before the pleasant-
parts.
ries of introduction were complete, Mike jumped up
and saidin typical Gardosian stylethat nobody in
the right frame of mind would ever consider aluminum 2. Historical perspective
for applications involving sliding contact. At that time,
Gardos was working for Hughes Aircraft Company, The tribological problems with aluminum alloys
which was then owned by The General Motors Corpo- must also have crossed the minds of the Wright Broth-
ration. When Mike realized what the Japanese were up ers and their mechanic Mr. Charles Taylor during their
to in exploiting this technology for commercial applica- attempts to develop a suitable engine for the rst pow-
tions (e.g., Sal reinforced Al MMC diesel engine pis- ered airplane, exactly 100 years ago. Soon after mas-
tons by Toyota, integrally cast Al MMC engine blocks tering the ight dynamics from their glider
by Honda, and Nissans AlSiC connecting rods), he experiments at Kitty Hawk, the Brothers began shop-
quickly switched his role from that of a skeptic to a ping for an engine that would develop eight to nine
mentor, and remained a lifelong friend. In fact, Gar- horsepower, weighing not more than 180 pounds, and
dos rst instinct was absolutely correct, because alumi- be free from vibration [3,4]. So, essentially two new
num exhibits poor resistance to seizure and galling [1]. criteriahorsepower per unit weight of the engine,
However, aluminum alloys possess a number of charac- and damping capacityin mechanical design have
teristics that make them attractive for automotive emerged. When all the automotive manufacturers
applications: low density, good resistance to corrosion, turned their request down, the Brothers approached
low thermal expansion, and established casting Charles Taylor who came up with the idea of using
the strongest aluminum alloy for the engine. It was
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. extremely dicult to get good aluminum castings in
E-mail: svprasa@sandia.gov those days, which was not an impossible task for

1023-8883/04/10000445/0  2004 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.


446 S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites

Mr. Taylor. But he could not risk exposing aluminum transfer lm [1]. Friction coecient between aluminum
to sliding contacts, precisely the same apprehension and steel couples is high, 0.50.6 [7]. The develop-
that Gardos had initially. So, the engine in the rst ment of aluminum MMCs dispersed with solid lubri-
powered ight in aviation history ended up with gray cants is primarily directed towards overcoming the
cast iron cylinders threaded into an aluminum case principal drawbacks of aluminum as a tribological
with a water jacket [3,4]. The judicious use of alumi- material.
num and gray cast iron had given an extra leverage of Rohatgi and coworkers [812] rst introduced
150 pounds, which the Brothers used to strengthen the graphite as a solid lubricant in aluminum matrices by
wings and frame. The saga of aluminum engine blocks casting routes, involving mixing the molten alloy with
with cast iron liners in mass produced automobiles has graphite particles to make a uniform suspension and
continued to this day. followed by casting. The problem of graphite rejection
by liquid aluminum is always faced here, caused by
density dierences (Al: 2.7 g/cc, graphite: 2.3 g/cc)
2.1. The legacy of the vega engine and poor wettability between the two. These problems
have been overcome to a large extent at the labora-
In the late 1960s General Motors came up with a
tory scale by the use of metal coatings (e.g., Ni and
revolutionary concept (by automotive standards) and
Cu) on the particle of graphite, and by the addition of
introduced die-cast aluminum cylinder blocks without
reactive elements (e.g., Mg and Ti) to the melt [see
cast iron cylinder liners in their Vega engines [5]. The
Ref. 13 for a summary]. This work was subsequently
cylinder blocks, which were cast from a hyper eutectic
extended to other solid lubricant dispersions but
AlSi alloy (1618% Si and 45% Cu), were acid
AlGraphite by far has the most potential for com-
etched to remove aluminum from the surface, leaving
mercial applications.
primary and eutectic silicon standing proud of the
There have been a number of publications in the lit-
matrix. Further, the piston skirt was plated with iron
erature on the sliding wear and friction of Al alloy
to prevent aluminum from smearing the cylinder in
graphite composites [1425]. Unfortunately, dierent
harsh driving conditions when the contact is starved of
investigators have used dierent experimental parame-
uid lm lubrication. From the tribology point of view,
ters for hardness and roughness of the counterface,
this was truly a novel engineering concept to exploit
sliding speed, load and the test environment, making it
the strengths of aluminum by masking its tribological
dicult to quantify the eect of graphite content. In
limitations. However, as we all know, the Vega engine
addition, comparing empirical wear data to theoretical
lasted only a few years with a disappointing service
generalizations of wear behavior is often dicult
record; its problems perhaps lie elsewherespecically
because of the widely dierent test conditions
its inability to dissipate frictional heat away as quickly
employed by dierent investigators to characterize the
as possible. The issue of heat dissipation has been suc-
tribological properties of composites. In spite of a lack
cessfully overcome in modern MMC engines by the
of universal testing procedure, useful generalizations
incorporation of carbon bers [6].
concerning wear behavior of dierent materials,
including composites, have been applied by construct-
ing wear mechanism maps [2631]. Wear maps serve
3. Self-lubricating Al MMCs
as predictive tools to draw meaningful conclusions rel-
It is well recognized that when a soft metal like alu- ative to wear behavior under dierent test conditions.
minum slides on hard steel without any external uid Specically, some of the variations between dierent
or solid lubrication, the former is expected to ow and studies can be overcome by utilizing normalized test
adhere to the latter, creating an interface of low shear parameters such as non-dimensional wear rate, load,
strength. The transfer of aluminum on steel ball during and sliding velocity. Prasad and Rohatgi [17] have
a typical ball-on-disk friction test (gure 1) supports introduced normalized wear rate (i.e., composite to the
this hypothesis [1]. Transfer of aluminum will continue base matrix alloy) to analyze the data from dierent
with sliding, and wear debris may form as a result of studies. Figure 2 is a compilation of the normalized
ploughing of the soft aluminum surface by the asperi- wear data on Al alloygraphite composite showing the
ties of the hard steel, or aking o of patches from the reduction in wear volume due to graphite particle dis-
persion. Compared with wear data, studies on friction
behavior of Algraphite composites are less numerous.
Al alloygraphite composites typically exhibit much
lower friction coecient compared with that of the
matrix alloy (gure 3). The coecient of friction
decreases considerably, up to about 3% by weight of
Figure 1. Smearing of Al on the steel ball during a ball-on-disk fric- graphite, and thereafter remains constant at about 0.2
tion and wear test. (a) SEM image, and (b) Al X-ray map (200). (0.5 on a normalized scale). Although there is a
S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites 447

0.9 in imparting superior bearing performance to AlSi


Al-7.2Si-1.8Ni, ref. [17]
Al-4.5Cu, ref. [17]
alloys that are of interest to automotive industry. Heat
0.8
Al-17Si-4.5Cu-0.5Mg (LM30), ref. [15] treatment also plays role in determining the Pv limits,
0.7 Al-12Si, ref. [23] specically the eects of matrix microstructure (nota-
Normalized Wear Rate

Al-17Si, ref. [25]


0.6 bly silicon morphology) and hardness of the matrix
Al-4Si, ref. [17]
Al-11Si-1.5Cu-1.5Ni (LM13), ref. [15] alloy. The seizure resistance of AlSi alloygraphite
0.5
MMCs was found to be superior to that of the matrix
0.4 [15,16].
Rohatgi and Pai [9] have used the bearing param-
0.3
eter ZN/P (where Z is the coecient of viscosity, N
0.2 is the speed and P is the bearing pressure) to char-
0.1
acterize the tribological performance of Al alloy
graphite composites. Minimum bearing parameter,
0 i.e., the extent to which a specimen is able to run
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
without seizure has been used to assess the seizure
Volume fraction graphite, %
resistance of the materials. The lower the value of
Figure 2. Normalized wear rate of Algraphite composites. the bearing parameter, the greater the degradation of
lubrication conditions. The minimum bearing param-
wealth of data on the tribology of Al alloygraphite eter decreases with increasing graphite content up to
composites, most authors have not reported the envi- 2 wt% and above this value, remains constant. Thus,
ronment (specically the dew point, and oxygen con- 2 wt% graphite in Al alloys will enhance the seizure
tent) in which their measurements were made; it is resistance thus enabling the material to run under
rather ironic considering the fact graphite loses its boundary lubrication conditions.
lubricating behavior in vacuum and dry environments,
since the complete absence of adsorbed vapors makes
it dicult to shear its layers. 3.2. Transition metal dichalcogenides as built-in solid
lubricants
Transition metal dichalcogenides such as molybde-
3.1. Bearing performance
num disulde and tungsten disulde are also well
The measure of performance of a bearing is load P known for their lubricating behavior. In applications
(or more accurately, stress) multiplied by linear veloc- involving vacuum or dry environments, MoS2 and
ity, v. This is designated Pv. Das and Prasad [15] have WS2 perform far superior to graphite. The major
employed similar concepts to evaluate the potential of problem associated with the use of transition dichalc-
near eutectic and hypereutectic AlSi alloys dispersed ogenide family of solid lubricants in Al MMCs is their
with graphite for bearing applications. The tests were thermal stability and reactivity with molten Al. One
performed with a pin-on-disk tribometer in partially has to adapt low temperature powder metallurgy or
lubricated conditions to determine the load at which isostatic pressing techniques for fabricating Al MMCs
the material begins to seize at a given sliding velocity. dispersed with transition metal dichalcogenides. Sin-
Their results (gure 4) conrmed the role of graphite tered Al MMCs reinforced with WS2 particles were

1.2
Al-Si-graphite, ref. [14]
Normalized Coefficient of Friction

1 Al-graphite, ref. [22]

Al-8Si-graphite, ref. [19]


0.8
Al-10Si (LM6)-graphite,as-cast, ref.
[15]
0.6 Al-10Si (LM6)-gr, modified, ref. [15]

Al-10Si (LM6)-gr, heat tr., ref. [15]


0.4

0.2

0
0 5 10 15 20 25
Volume Fraction Graphite, %

Figure 3. Normalized coecient of friction of Algraphite composites.


448 S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites

12

10

Pressure, MPa
6

LM 6 (modified)
4 LM 6 (heat treated)
LM 6-3% graphite
LM 6-3% Gr. (modified)
2
LM 6-3% Gr. (heattreated)
LM 6(as cast)
0
0 1 2 3 4 5
Velocity, m/s
14

12

10
Pressure, MPa

6 LM 30-graphite
LM 30-graphite (heat treated)
LM 13
4
LM 13 (heat treated)
LM 13-graphite
2
LM 13-graphite (heat treated)
LM 30
0
0 1 2 3 4 5
Velocity, m/s

Figure 4. The pressurevelocity plots for seizure of Algraphite composites [15,16] (alloy composition: LM6: Al10Si0.2Cu0.5Fe0.2Mn;
LM13: Al11Si1Cu1Mg1.5Ni0.8Fe; LM30: Al17Si4.5Cu0.5Mg0.1Ni0.3Fe.

reported to have self-lubricating behavior with friction AlSi alloygraphite composites sliding against steel
coecients ranging from 0.05 to 0.10 [7]. counterfaces [16,17].

3.3. The role of transfer lms 4. Abrasion resistant MMCs


The formation of third bodies or triboinduced lms Abrasion is the removal of material from a relatively
as a result of sliding between a pair of contacting sur- soft surface by the ploughing or cutting action of hard
faces in reducing friction and wear is well recognized. grit particles. Reinforcing aluminum alloys with hard
During sliding contact, transfer and back transfer of ceramic particles (e.g., SiC, Si3N4, B4C, TiB2, Al2O3,
material between contacting sliding surfaces can occur. SiO2, glass, zircon, y ash, and shell char), and short
In many instances, chemical reactions amongst the bers or whiskers improves the abrasion resistance.
sliding surfaces and the surrounding environment are Most studies have focused on the tribological perfor-
inevitable. In the case of self-lubricating Al MMCs dis- mance of Al/SiC [3248, D.M. Schuster, Private Com-
persed with solid lubricants, the formation of solid munication] and Al/Al2O3 [4958] composites,
lubricant-rich lms on the wear surfaces usually although other hard particles such as zircon [59,60], y
occurs. During dry sliding contact, formation of ash [61], TiB2 [62,63], and TiC [63] also have been dis-
graphite rich lms has been observed in the case of persed in Al to improve its wear resistance. The test
S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites 449

(a) 1. 2
Al-4.5Cu-1.5Mg-SiC, cast, ref. [49]
Al-4.5Cu-1.5Mg-SiC, heat tr., ref. [49]
1 Al-Mg-Alumina, ref. [17]

Normalized Wear Rate


Al-Mg-Zircon, ref. [17]
6061Al-Alumina (T6), ref. [41]
0. 8

0. 6

0. 4

0. 2

0
0 10 20 30 40
Vol. pct. reinforcement

(b) 1.2
Normalized Coefficient of Friction

0.8

0.6
Al-4.5Cu-1.5Mg-SiC (cast), ref. [49]
Al-4.5Cu-1.5Mg-SiC (heat tr.),ref. [49]
0.4
Al-SiC, ref. [64]
Al-B4C, ref. [64]
0.2 Al-TiB2, ref. [64]
Al-TiC, ref. [64]
Al-1.5Mg-SiC, ref. [35]
0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Vol. pct. reinforcement

Figure 5. (a) Normalized abrasive wear rate, and (b) normalized coecient of friction of some Al composites reinforced with hard particles.

parameters such as load, speed, the type of abrasive,


abrasive size and shape, and whether the abrasive parti-
cles are free to rotate or xed to a sheet determine the
mechanism and therefore the abrasion resistance of the
material. Like in the case of sliding wear and friction,
making absolute comparisons from various reports is
rather dicult, since no universal test procedure has
been employed to evaluate the abrasion resistance of
composites. The normalized abrasion rates (wear rate
of composite/wear rate of the matrix alloy) decrease as
the vol.% of the hard phase increases (gure 5(a)).
Typically, signicant improvements in abrasive wear
behavior occur above about 20 vol.% of the hard
phase reinforcement. Likewise, the normalized coe-
cient of friction of the Al matrix decreases with increas-
ing additions of hard particulates (gure 5(b)). The
ductile aluminum metal matrix composite is usually Figure 6. Schematic illustration of (a) a steel ball sliding on an
etched surface of an AlSi alloy ber composite. In this case, protru-
worn away rst by the cutting or ploughing of the sion of spheroidized silicon particles and ceramic bers prevent the
abrasive (or the asperities on the hard counterface) contact between steel and Al in the composite, and (b) hard second
leaving the protrusions of the hard second phase parti- phase particles protecting the ductile matrix from abrasion.
450 S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites

cles or short ber reinforcements. Beyond a certain crit- composites permit lighter engine and structural compo-
ical volume fraction of the second phasespecically nents with improved properties and performance to be
the interparticle spacing in relation to the size of the designed and used in automobiles. Whereas the discon-
abrasive particlesthe hard-phase protrusions will tinuously-reinforced MMCs as a new material class has
completely protect the matrix from further abrasion, as been in development for over four decades, the enabling
shown schematically in gure 6. The hard phase is typi- technologies for their widespread implementation in the
cally brittle, and will be abraded by progressive events automotive components gained ascendancy only in the
until the softer aluminum matrix is exposed to the last decade. This is because strategies to design, pro-
matrix. The role of the aluminum matrix must not be duce, fabricate, nish and recycle the components made
underestimated. It provides support to the hard phase out of the new material usually require modication
reinforcements and imparts ductility to the MMC. If it and adjustment in the time-honored strategies that have
provides insucient support, the unsupported hard evolved for conventional materials. Over the last dec-
phase edges become susceptible to fragmentation or ade, the enabling technologies to produce components
pull-out of the surface. from Al-based MMC materials have matured to a level
where commercialization of products made from the
new material has become feasible [6477]. The auto
5. Applications industry has successfully applied Al-based particulate
composites, chiey SiC/Al and Al/Al2O3, in pistons,
In addition to suitable friction and wear characteris- engine blocks, disc rotor brakes, drums, calipers, con-
tics, a material for a tribocomponent (whether a bear- necting rods, drive shafts, snow tire studs and other
ing or a brake lining) must possess a precise balance
of physical and mechanical properties: thermal expan-
sion, damping capacity, conformability, strength, sti- Table 2.
ness and fatigue life. Incorporation of particles with Physical and mechanical properties of Al composites [Duralcan].
aspect ratios (length to diameter ratio) of near unity in
Composite Y.S., UTS, % Modulus,
aluminum alloy matrices typically results in a decrease MPa MPa Elongation GPa
in many of these properties, and this can be oset by a
judicious use of short ceramic bers or whiskers with 6061/Al2O3/10p (T6) 296 338 7.5 81
aspect ratios over 200. Similarly, one could achieve the 6061/Al2O3/15p (T6) 317 359 5.4 87
6061/Al2O3/20p (T6) 359 379 2.1 98
desired coecient of thermal expansion by reinforcing 6061/SiC/15p (T6) 342 364 3.2 91
with carbon or other bers. Tables 1 and 2 summarize 6061/SiC/20p (T4) 405 460 7.0 98
some physical and mechanical properties of common 6061/SiC/25p (T4) 430 515 4.0 115
reinforcement materials and cast Al MMCs. Typical 2014/Al2O3/10p (T6) 483 517 3.3 84
microstructures of the pressure cast Al MMC rein- 2014/Al2O3/15p (T6) 476 503 2.3 92
2014/Al2O3/20p (T6) 483 503 1.0 101
forced with short carbon bers and SiC particulates 2124/SiC/25p (T4) 490 630 24 116
are shown in gure 7. 2124/SiC/20p (T4) 405 560 7.0 105
In the automotive industry, the major driving forces A356/SiC/10p (T61) 287 308 0.6 82
for developing and implementing new materials and A356/SiC/15p (T61) 329 336 0.3 91
manufacturing technology are fuel economy, reduced A356/SiC/20p (T61) 336 357 0.4 98
AZ91/SiC/15p 208 236 1.0 54
vehicle emissions, and increased vehicle safety at com- AZ61/SiC/20p 260 328 2.5 80
petitive cost. Light-weight materials such as Almatrix

Table 1.
Representative properties of selected reinforcements for cast composites.

Reinforcement Density (kg.m)3) Tensile strength (MPa) Elastic modulus (GPa) CTE (10)6 K)1)

Borsic (SiC-coated B) 2710 3100 400 5.0


Sapphire 4000 2000 470 6.26.8
PRD 166 (Al2O3/ZrO2) 4200 2500 385
Nextel 480 3050 2275 224
PAN high str. C 1700 35005000 240300 )0.75
PAN high modulus Cf 1900 23003000 350450 )1.15
SiC whisker 3200 21000 840
Al2O3 Sal 3300 >2000 300
Al2O3 FP 3900 13802070 380 7.4
SiC Nicalon 2550 24803240 179207 3.1
Precipitator y ash 16002600 143310
Cenosphere y ash 400600
Fiberfrax 2730 1600 104
S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites 451

Figure 7. Microstructures of pressure-cast Al MMCs reinforced with (a) short carbon bers (1000), and (b) SiC particulates (400).

parts. Most notable example is the development of the Table 3.


all aluminum engine block by Honda [6] in the early Selected cast composite components with proven applications.
1990s. Here the Honda has produced a thin-walled Manufacturer Component and composite
cylindrical ceramic perform made of hybrid material
Duralcan, Martin Marietta, Pistons, Al/SiCp
made of short alumina and carbon bers, and squeeze
Lanxide
inltrated molten aluminum alloy to produce the engine Duralcan, Lanxide Brake rotors, calipers, liners, Al/SiCp
block. The new engine block features is more compact GKN, Duralcan Propeller shaft, Al/SiCp
with signicant weight reductions compared with cast Nissan Connecting rod, Al/SiCw
iron engine blocks and those made of aluminum alloy Dow Chemical Sprockets, pulleys, covers, Mg/SiCp
Toyota Piston rings, Al/Al2O3 (sal) & Al/
with cast iron liners, thus providing higher perfor-
Boriaw
mance. Reinforcement alone will not suce to produce Dupont, Chrysler Connecting rods, Al/Al2O3
an innovative part. The cast MMC part has to be heat Hitachi Current collectors, Cu/graphite
treated to obtain the desired microstructure of the Associated Engineering, Inc. Cylinders, pistons, Al/graphite
matrix alloy, specically the morphology of silicon. Spe- Martin Marietta Pistons, connecting rods, Al/TiCp
Zollner Pistons, Al/berfrax
cial honing techniques may also be necessary to etch the
Honda Engine blocks, Al/Al2O3 Cf
aluminum from the surface so that it is not directly Lotus Elise, Volkswagon Brake rotors, Al/SiCp
exposed to the piston rings. Chrysler Brake rotors, Al/SiCp
Table 3 lists the other proven applications of some GM Rear brake drum for EV-1, drive-
MMCs in the automotive industry. Diesel engine pis- shaft, engine cradle, Al/SiCp
MC-21, Dia-Compe, Bicycle fork brace and disk brake
tons containing Sal (Al2O3) short bers have been in
Manitou rotors, Al/SiCp
use by Toyota since 1985. Reinforcing piston crown 3M Missile ns, aircraft electrical access
with a MMC reduces the piston thickness at the crown door, Al/Nextelf
and the overall piston weight. Additionally, the cera- Knorr-Bremse; Kobenhavn Brake disc on ICE bogies, SiC/Al
mic reinforcement reduces heat losses because of its Alcoa Innometalx Multichip electronic module, Al/SiCp
Lanxide PCB Heat sinks, Al/SiCp
high thermal resistance. Composite liners have better
Cercast Electronic packages, Al/graphite foam
scung characteristics than conventional cast iron lin- Textron Specialty Materials PCB heat sinks, Al/B
ers of the engine block. Aluminum composites have
superior thermal conductivity and lower density than
cast iron, and this has been protable in disc brake
rotors. In the context of heat dissipation, it is worth isfactory performance has been achieved in rear brake
noting that AlSi alloys are the most widely used rotors. These rotors have been specied for Lotus
matrix alloys for Al MMCs. Although aluminum is a Elise, Chrysler Plymouth Prowler, and General Motors
good thermal conductor, silicon is not, and automotive EV-1. Projections on the use of Al composites in the
manufacturers (e.g., Honda) did not utilize hypereutec- brake and engine components of Partnership for New
tic (high silicon) alloys. Second, control of composition Generation Vehicle (PNGV) program are for 7.7 kg of
and reinforcement content allows thermal management the roughly 910 kg total, or about 1%. [72].
of the expansion behavior of the MMC. Aluminum composite brake rotors provide up to
Extensive tests on SiC/Al composites for brake 60%. weight reduction when compared to cast iron
rotors have been done, and over a million miles of sat- [73]. Under both sliding and abrasion wear, MMC
452 S.V. Prasad, R. Asthana/Tribology of aluminum composites

displays lower wear rate which decreases as the rein- [19] P.K. Rohatgi, S. Ray and Y. Liu, Int. Mater. Rev. 37(3) (1992)
forcement content increases. Depending upon the par- 129.
[20] A.K. Jha, S.V. Prasad and G.S. Upadhyaya, Wear 133 (1989)
ticle loading, abrasive wear rates are reduced 5590% 163.
when compared to the wear rate of unreinforced Al, [21] Y. Liu, P.K. Rohatgi, and S. Ray, Metall. Trans. 24A (1993)
and at approximately 20 vol.%. SiC in Al, Al compos- 151.
ite brake rotors have lower wear rate than cast iron [22] E. Yuasa, T. Morooka and F. Hayama, J. Japan Inst. Metals
[73]. 50 (1986) 1032.
[23] M. Suwa, K. Komuro and K. Soeno, J. Japan Inst. Metals 42
(1978) 1034.
[24] S.K. Biswas and B.N. Pramilla Bai, Wear 68 (1981) 347.
6. Summary [25] W.K. Choo and C.H. Horng, J. Korean Inst. Metals, 17 (1979)
474.
Key applications of Al MMCs have already been [26] S.C. Lim and M.F. Ashby, Acta Mater. 35(1) (1987) 1.
explored by the highly progressive automotive indus- [27] S.C. Lim and M.F. Ashby, J. Japan Soc. Tribol. 37(10) (1992)
try. The emphasis has been on developing aordable 793.
Al MMCs, reinforced with SiC and Al2O3, that will [28] S.C. Lim, Tribol. Int. 31 (1998) 87.
[29] S. Wilson and A.T. Alpas, Wear 212(1) (1997) 41.
reduce the weight and increase the engine eciency, [30] P.K. Rohatgi, Y. Liu and R. Asthana: in Tribology of Compos-
and thereby reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emis- ite Materials eds. P.K. Rohatgi, P.J. Blau and C.S. Yust (ASM
sions. Replacing cast iron engine components with Int., Materials Park, OH, 1990) 69.
light-weight Al alloys requires overcoming the poor [31] Y. Liu, R. Asthana and P.K. Rohatgi, J. Mater. Sci. 26 (1991) 99.
adhesion and seizure resistance of Al by dispersing [32] A. Sato and R. Mehrabian, Metall. Trans. 7B (1976) 443.
[33] F.M. Hosking, F.F. Portillo, W. Wunderlin and R. Mehrabian,
SiC, Al2O3 or graphite particles in Al. Considerable J. Mater. Sci. 17 (1982) 477.
reduction in wear and friction is achieved by use of [34] Z.C. Feng and K.N. Tandon, Scripta Mater. 32(4) (1995) 523.
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