ABSTRACT Discontinuously reinforced aluminium matrix composites are fast emerging as engineering materials and competing with common metals and alloys. They are gaining significant acceptance because of higher specific strength, specific modulus and good wear resistance as compared to ordinary unreinforced alloys. Reinforcing particles or short fibers normally used are silicon carbide and alumina which are added externally. Recently it has been shown that alumina particles can be produced in-situ by reaction with metallic oxides reduced by aluminium. Alumina particles thus produced are dispersed in the aluminium matrix and the elementary metal gives solid solution strengthening of the matrix. In-situ particulate composites in comparison with conventional cast particulate composites produced by external addition promote cleaner interface, eliminates interface incompatibility of the matrices with the reinforcements, help to achieve greater thermodynamic stability of reinforcement particles in the matrix at elevated temperature and also increase the possibility of developing coherency between the matrix and particles formed in-situ. The morphology and the distribution of particles strongly influence the physical and mechanical properties of composites. In the present investigation, iron ore was added to molten aluminium, aluminium-magnesium and aluminium-silicon alloys by vortex method. The iron oxides present in the iron ore are observed to react with aluminium, magnesium resulting in production of Al2O3, MgO and metallic iron which dissolved in liquid aluminium. The composites thus produced were cast into cast iron die. The mechanical properties of the composites were evaluated. The dry sliding wear behavior of the cast composites was studied at different loads and different sliding velocities using Pin-On-Disk configuration wear testing machine. The worn surfaces and the wear debris were also analyzed using optical microscope and scanning electron microscope.
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