Development and Characterization of Novel Alumina Based Ceramic Matrix Composites for Energy Efficient Sliding Applications
Paluri, Rajeshwari S. Lakshmi
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Friction, wear, and lubrication have direct influence on performance, reliability, and service life of mechanical systems with moving components. The useful life of these systems and their efficiency can be improved by improving the surface properties/ performance at sliding interfaces. Further, the usage of materials for sliding systems is limited in extreme environments, such as high temperature, and space, etc., due to their limited surface properties. This thesis focuses on the development of a new class of composites with superior surface properties, i.e., low friction and high wear resistance for extreme environmental conditions. Alumina, a well understood material for its tribological performance, is a merit choice for applications where high wear resistance is required, such as pump bearings, seal rings, valve seats, piston components, gears, cutting tool inserts and artificial joints. We propose to develop a novel alumina based ceramic composite to enhance its surface and tribological properties using a powder compaction technique. The newly developed composites will be characterized by X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscope (FTIR), Optical microscope, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (E-SEM), Goniometer and Surface profilometer. In-situ formation of high temperature stable phases, effect of sintering temperature, and percentage of reinforcement on phase formation will be studied. Investigation of effect of sintering temperature and percentage of reinforcement on density, porosity, and grain size will be conducted. The composites will be characterized for their tribological properties (friction and wear). The mechanisms for modified friction and wear will be proposed. The process parameters and compositions will be optimized. XRD results confirmed the formation of Al18B4O33, and AlB2 and FTIR confirmed the presence of B2O3. Increase in sintering temperature and wt % of boron affected the porosity, grain size, and hardness of the composites. The coefficient of friction was lower for the composites compared to pure alumina ceramic. The coefficient of friction decreased with increase in sintering temperature. The wear mechanism was found to be micro-fracture using ESEM and SEM studies.