Analysis of Semi-solid Processing for Metal Matrix Composite Synthesis Using Factorial Design
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The main goal in this work is to conduct a quantitative analysis of the mechanical stir casting process for obtaining particulate metal matrix composites. A combined route of stirring at semi-solid state followed by stirring at liquid state is proposed. A fractional factorial design was developed to investigate the influence and interactions of factors as: time, rotation, initial fraction and particle size, on the incorporated fraction. The best incorporations were obtained with all factors at high levels, as well as that very long stirring periods have no strong influence being particle size and rotation the most important factors on the incorporated fraction. Particle wetting occurs during stirring at semisolid state, highlighting the importance of the interactions between particles and the alloy globularized phase. The role of the alloying element Mg as a wettability-promoting agent is discussed. The shear forces resulting from the stirring system is emphasized and understood as the effect of rotation itself added to the propeller blade geometry.