Degradation of Al/SiCp Composites Processed with Fly Ash via Reactive Infiltration
The degradation in ambient atmosphere of Al/SiCp composites prepared by the reactive infiltration of SiCp preforms containing fly ash has been investigated. SiCp/fly-ash preforms in the form of plates (3 cm x 4 cm x 0.5 cm) with 50 % porosity are infiltrated by an Al- 8 Si-15 Mg (wt. %) alloy under argon atmosphere at 1050, 1100 and 1150 °C, for 50, 60 and 70 min. Characterization by XRD, SEM and EDX of composite specimens shortly after processing do not reveal the presence of the unwanted Al4C3 phase. However, in addition to Al, Si and SiC, MgAl2O4 and Mg2Si phases are detected. One month after the infiltration trials, white and gray powders are present on the composite specimens, accompanied by pitting corrosion and cracks which propagate with time. Although analysis by XRD of the degradation products reveals only Al4C3 in addition to the above mentioned phases, results from SEM, IR absorption and ICP also suggest the presence of Al(OH)3 and Mg(OH)2, probably from the interaction of Al4C3 and Mg2Si with water. It is considered that Mg2Si in the powders acts as an anode in a galvanic couple with atmospheric moisture as the electrolyte. The crack pathway through SiC, intermetallic AlFeMnSi and Si rich zones implies that one or more of these phases worked as the cathode. In summary, degradation of the composites is explained by the combined effect of galvanic corrosion caused by second phases and the interaction of Al4C3 with atmospheric moisture.
H. Balmori-Ramirez, J.G. Cabañas-Moreno, H.A. Calderon-Benavides, K. Ishizaki and A. Salinas-Rodriguez
R. Escalera-Lozano et al., "Degradation of Al/SiCp Composites Processed with Fly Ash via Reactive Infiltration", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 560, pp. 139-144, 2007