The effect of Mn modification on the tribological properties of Al-15Mg2Si-(0.5-2)Fe composites was investigated. The sliding wear tests were conducted under the applied pressures of 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 MPa at the constant sliding speed of 0.13 m/s. According to the results, the behavior of FeMn-rich intermetallics against the strains induced by sliding wear has an important role in the wear behavior of composites. In low-Fe composites (0.5–1 wt % Fe), Mn promotes the formation of Chinese script α-Al15(Fe,Mn)3Si2 phases instead of harmful β-Al5FeSi platelets. The formation of these compounds strengthens the substrate and decreases its microcracking tendency giving rise to a more stable tribolayer and improved wear properties. At the higher Fe contents, Mn modification leads to the formation of primary polyhedral or star-like α-Al15(Fe,Mn)3Si2 compounds in the microstructure and substantially neutralizes the harmful effect of the primary β-Fe crystals on the wear behavior. However, when subjected to the friction-induced surface plastic strains, the near-surface α-FeMn particles fracture and incorporate into the tribolayer making it unstable and less protective. The tribolayer stability in Mn-modified composites decreases the chance of adhesion between contacting surfaces, and, under low applied pressures, lowers the average friction coefficient (AFC) and its fluctuation. At higher applied pressures, however, the nonmodified composites exhibit lower AFC, which is probably due to the negative impact of β-Fe fragments on the tribolayer shear strength.

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