Optimization of mechanical properties of Al-metal matrix composite produced by direct fusion of beverage cans

CARRASCO, C.; INZUNZA, C.; CAMURRI, C.; RODRÍGUEZ, C.; RADOVIC, L.; SOLDERA, F.; SUAREZ, S.:
Materials Science & Engineering 617 (2014) 146-155.

DOI: 10.1016/j.msea.2014.08.057

Abstract

The collection of used beverage cans is limited in countries where they are not fabricated; their lowvalue does not justify the extra charge of exporting them for further processing. To address thisincreasingly serious problem, here we optimize the properties of an aluminum metal matrix composite(Al-MMC) obtained through direct fusion of beverage cans by using the slag generated in the meltingprocess as reinforcement. This method consists of a modified rheocasting process followed bythixoforming. Our main operational variable is the shear rate applied to a semi-solid bath, subsequentto which a suitable heat treatment (T8) is proposed to improve the mechanical properties. Themicrostructure, the phases obtained and their effect on composite mechanical properties are analyzed. The composite material produced has, under the best conditions, a yield stress of 175 MPa and a tensilestrength of 273 MPa. These results demonstrate that the proposed process does indeed transform theused beverage cans into promising composite materials, e.g., for structural applications.

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