Aluminum based metal matrix composites offer greater potential for light weight, wear resistant and high temperature applications. Secondary processing like extrusion results in the improvement of strength and ductility of the as-cast composites. The objective of this research is to investigate the effect of reinforcement type and extrusion process on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the hot extruded Al2014 aluminum alloy. Two different composites were made by reinforcing the alloy with 10 wt.% SiC and 10 wt.% Si3N4 particles using stir casting method. The particles were electroless Ni coated to improve the wettability of reinforcement by the matrix alloy. The composite ingots were further extruded at 475 °C with an extrusion ratio of 8:1. The microstructures and the mechanical properties of the base alloy and the composites were examined systematically. The extruded composites show more homogenous microstructure with uniform distribution of particles in the matrix alloy. Both the Al/SiC and Al/Si3N4 composites exhibited improved hardness compared to the base alloy in both as-cast and extruded conditions. It was also found from tension tests that the both the composites show higher yield strength, ductility and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) than the base alloy in the extruded condition. The reason for improvement in strength in the extruded conditions is explained in detail. Fracture surface analysis revealed the transition from brittle fracture mode in the as cast composites to the ductile fracture in the extruded condition.

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