Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
Aluminium alloys have gained popularity in many industries due to their high strength and low weight. One shortcoming of aluminium alloys is their poor resistance to abrasion and erosion wear compared to materials such as stainless steels. In this project, aluminium alloy 2014 (AA2014) was coated with a 1.5 mm thick laser-deposited layer composed of silicon, copper, and aluminium with the aim of increasing the wear resistance. The amount of silicon, copper, and aluminium added to each sample was determined by a mixtures model. It was discovered that the Al-Cu system is very sensitive to silicon additions and that wear resistance depends on the primary phase to solidify as well as on the final phase distribution. Two primary phases were identified; alpha aluminium and theta intermetallic. It was observed that the clad layer increases both the hardness and wear resistance of AA2014, and that the material solidifying as primary alpha aluminium displayed a lower hardness but higher wear resistance than the samples containing primary theta phase. All clad layers performed better in terms of wear resistance than the unclad samples. The knowledge gained and principles used in this project could be applied to many other aluminium alloys.
Keywords : aluminium alloys; laser cladding; wear resistance.