Effects of alumina (Al2O3) addition on the cell structure and mechanical properties of 6061 foams
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In this study, a powder blend representing 6061 Al-alloy was first mixed with Al2O3 ceramic particles and then foamed by using the powder compact melting method. 6061-Al2O3 foams and control specimens 6061 foams (without ceramic reinforcement) were produced. The effects of both different ratios of Al2O3 particle addition and different kinds of heat treatment on hardenability, structure and mechanical behavior of the final foams were investigated. Foams that were fully heat treated had the highest hardness values, and they performed best with an increase in collapse strength up to 100% over the untreated samples. Improved cell structure and decreased drainage were obtained when the Al2O3 addition was not more than 5 vol%. The compression test results were interpreted in terms of the foam's microstructure, and correlations were made relating to the unloading modulus and compression strength of the foams to the relative density.