November 22, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru
When aluminum came to replace ferrous metals in engineering applications, it was hailed as a break-through. The new material was light in weight, possessed good strength and was resistant to corrosion.
It was only over time, that the short-comings of aluminium became apparent; and industry began the search for yet another material that was longer lasting and better performing.
Now Veeresh Kumar G. B., Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, may have an answer.
Having fabricated and evaluated the properties of different aluminium composites, he discovered that a composite of aluminium silicon carbide can provide an ideal substitute that is longer lasting and performing better.
His research was recently published by Elsevier as a paper titled Studies on Mechanical and Sliding Wear of A16061-SiC Composites.
The work was undertaken with the guidance of Drs. Rao C. S. P. and Selvaraj N. of NIT Warangal.
“A composite material is defined as a structural material created artificially by combining two or more materials having dissimilar characteristics,” explained Veeresh.
“The constituents are combined at macroscopic level and are not soluble in each other. One constituent may be the matrix and the other, the reinforcing material, that is embedded in the matrix to give the desired characteristics.”
Veeresh was motivated to discover a composite that could be used to manufacture support devices for the physically handicapped.
“Aluminium silicon carbide composites have very high strength, corrosion strength, wear resistance yet they are light in weight,” he elaborated. “They can be useful in several medical applications.”
Aluminium metal matrix composites are already being used as lightweight alternatives to cast iron and steel in automobile, aerospace, marine and mining sectors.
“In the paper, the experimental results of the mechanical and tribological properties of Al6061–SiC composites were presented. The composites of Al6061 containing 2–6 wt% SiC were prepared using liquid metallurgy route. The experimental results showed that the density of the composites increased with increased SiC content; this agreed with the values obtained through the rule of mixtures. The hardness and ultimate tensile strength of Al6061–SiC composites were found to increase with increased SiC content in the matrix at the cost of reduced ductility. The wear properties of the composites containing SiC were superior to that of the matrix material.”
“Amrita has fostered my work in the field of composites; there is an ideal environment here for conducting research,” he underlined.