Applied Composite Materials

, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp 431–447 | Cite as

Single-point scratching of 6061 Al alloy reinforced by different ceramic particles

  • Cheng Yan
  • Liangchi Zhang


Aluminium alloys reinforced by ceramic particles have been widely used in aerospace and automotive industries for their high stiffness and wear resistance. However, the machining of such materials is difficult and would usually cause excessive tool wear. The effect of ceramic particles on the cutting mechanisms is also unclear.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the cutting mechanisms and the relationship between specific energy of scratching and depth of cut (size effect). The single-point scratch test was carried out on 6061 Al and its composites reinforced by Al2O3 and SiC ceramic particles using a pyramid indenter. The results indicated that the scratch process was composed of rubbing, ploughing, plastic cutting and reinforcement fracture. A simple model was proposed to interpret the apparent size effect. The effect of reinforcement on the specific energy was correlated to the ratio of volume fraction to particle radius. The paper found that for machining MMCs, a larger depth of cut should be used to maintain a lower machining energy, especially for those with a larger ratio of volume fraction to particle radius.

Key words

Metal matrix composites Reinforcement effect Scratching Specific energy size effect Groove topography Depth of cut 





length or radial crack


constants in Equations (3), (4), (5), and (9)


Young's modulus


friction coefficient


volume fraction of particles


tangential force


Vicker's hardness


depth of cut


fracture toughness


constant in Equation (7)


groove length


total edge length of particles, defined in Equation (11)


indentation load


average contact pressure


particle radius

α, α1

constants, defined in Equations (6) and (8)


surface energy of particles


semi-included angle of groove


specific energy


ratio of particle volume fraction to average radius of particles


yield stress of a composite material



plastic cutting




groove surface






section of groove


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheng Yan
    • 1
  • Liangchi Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic EngineeringUniversity of SydneyAustralia

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