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Mechanical and Tribological Behavior of Gravity and Squeeze Cast Novel Al-Si Alloy

The automotive industry traditionally reduces weight primarily by value engineering and thickness optimization. However, both of these strategies have reached their limits. A 6% reduction in automotive truck mass results in a 13% improvement in freight mass. Aluminum alloys have lower weight, relatively high specific strength, and good corrosion resistance. Therefore, the present manuscript involves manufacturing Al-based alloy by squeeze casting. The effect of applied pressure during the squeeze cast and gravity cast of a novel Al-Si alloy on microstructural evolution, and mechanical and wear behavior was investigated. The results demonstrated that squeeze casting of the novel Al-Si alloy at high-pressure exhibits superior mechanical properties and enhanced wear resistance in comparison to the gravity die-cast (GDC) counterpart. Squeeze casting of this alloy, at high pressure, yields fine dendrites and reduced dendritic arm spacing, resulting in grain refinement. The finer dendrites and reduced dendritic arm spacing in high-pressure squeeze cast alloy than in the GDC alloy were due to enhanced cooling rates observed during the solidification process, as well as the applied squeeze pressure breaks the initial dendrites that started growing during the solidification process. Reduced casting defects in the high-pressure squeeze cast alloy led to a reduced coefficient of friction, resulting in improved wear resistance even at higher loads and higher operating temperatures. Our results demonstrated that squeeze casting of the novel Al-Si alloy at high-pressure exhibits a 47% increase in tensile strength, 33% increase in hardness, 10% reduction in coefficient of friction, and 15% reduction in wear loss compared to the GDC counterpart.