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Effects of TiB2 nanoparticle content on the microstructure and mechanical properties of aluminum matrix nanocomposites
The present work reports the fabrication of A357 alloy matrix nanocomposites reinforced with 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 wt.-% TiB2 nanoparticles (20-30 nm) by a novel method which is the combination of semi-solid mechanical mixing and ultrasonic dispersion of nanoparticles in liquid state. The microstructural and mechanical properties of the fabricated nanocomposites were investigated. The microstructural studies conducted with optical and advanced electron microscopes indicated that reasonably effective deagglomeration and uniform distribution of TiB2 nanoparticles into the matrix were achieved. Transmission electron microscopy studies also confirmed that the nanoparticles were embedded into the matrix and a good bonding was obtained between the matrix and the reinforcement. Increasing nanoparticle content led to grain refinement and significant enhancement in the mechanical properties of nanocomposites. The addition of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 wt.-% TiB2 nanoparticles increased the 0.2 % proof stress of matrix alloy by approximately 31, 48 and 61 %, respectively. The contribution of different mechanisms to the strength enhancement is discussed. It is proposed that the strengthening is mainly due to Orowan mechanism and dislocation generation effect by the coefficient of thermal expansion mismatch between the TiB2 nanoparticles and the matrix.