Optimization of SiC particle distribution during compocasting of A356-SiCp composites using D-optimal experiment design

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran

2 Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Materials Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


This paper presents an experimental design approach to the process parameter optimization for compocasting of A356-SiCp composites. Toward this end, parameters of stirring temperature, stirring time, stirring speed and SiC content were chosen and three levels of these parameters were considered. The D-optimal design of experiment (DODE) was employed for experimental design and analysis of results. In the experimental stage, different 20 µm-sized SiC particle contents (5, 10 and 15 vol %) were introduced into semisolid-state A356 aluminium alloy. Semisolid stirring was carried out at temperatures of 590, 600 and 610 °C with stirring speeds of 200, 400 and 600 rpm for 10, 20 and 30 min. The effect of these parameters on the distribution of the SiC particles within the matrix, represented by distribution factor (DF), was investigated. The smaller value of DF is indicative of the more uniform distribution of the SiC particles in the matrix. It was observed that the SiC particle content of 15 vol %, stirring temperature of 590 °C, stirring speed of 500 rpm, and stirring time of 30 min were the optimum parameter values producing the best distribution of the SiC particles in the matrix. The statistical test revealed that the main effect of the stirring temperature is the most significant factor. 


  • Compocasting processing of A356-SiCp composites was studied.
  • Simultaneous effects of process parameters on SiC distribution were studied.
  • D-optimal design of experiment was used for optimization.


[1] N. Chawla, K. K. Chawla, Metal matrix composites, Springer, New York, 2006.

[2] H. Beygi, M. Shaterian, E. Tohidlou, M.R. Rahimipour, Development in wear resistance of Fe-0.7Cr-0.8Mn milling balls through in situ reinforcing with low weight percent TiC, Adv. Mat. Res. 413 (2012) 262-269.

[3] B.K. Vinoth, J.J.T. Winowlin, T.P.D. Rajan, M. Uthayakumar, Dry sliding wear studies on SiC reinforced functionally graded aluminium matrix composites, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: J. Mater. Design Appl. 30 (2016) 182-189.

[4] O. El-Kady, A. Fathy, Effect of SiC particle size on the physical and mechanical properties of extruded Al matrix nanocomposites, Mater. Design, 54 (2014) 348-353.

[5] H. Khosravi, F. Akhlaghi, Comparison of microstructure and wear resistance of A356-SiCp composites processed via compocasting and vibrating cooling slope, T. Nonferr. Metal. Soc. 25 (2015) 2490-2498.

[6] S.T. Kumaran, M. Uthayakumar, S. Aravindan, S. Rajesh, Dry sliding wear behavior of SiC and B4C-reinforced AA6351 metal matrix composite produced by stir casting process. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: J. Mater. Design Appl. 230 (2016) 484-491.

[7] S.A. Sajjadi, H. R. Ezatpour, M. Torabi Parizi, Comparison of microstructure and mechanical properties of A356 aluminium alloy/Al2O3 composites fabricated by stir and compo-casting processes, Mater. Design, 34 (2012) 106-111.

[8] B. Abbasipour, B. Niroumand, M. Monir-Vaghefis, Compocasting of A356-CNT composite, T. Nonferr. Metal. Soc. 20 (2010) 1561-1566.

[9] K.H.W. Seah, S.C. Sharma, M. Krishna, Mechanical properties and fracture mechanism of ZA-27/TiO2 particulate metal matrix composites, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: J. Mater. Design Appl. 217 (2003) 201-206.

[10] H. Zhang, L. Geng, L. Guan, L. Huang, Effects of SiC particle pretreatment and stirring parameters on the microstructure and mechanical properties of SiCp/Al-6.8Mg composites fabricated by semi-solid stirring technique, Mat. Sci. Eng. A - Struct. 528 (2010) 513-518.

[11] F Akhlaghi, A. Lajevardi, H. M. Maghanaki, Effects of casting temperature on the microstructure and wear resistance of compocast A356/SiCp composites: a comparison between SS and SL routes, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 155-156 (2004) 1874-1880.

[12] S.A. Sajjadi, M. Torabi-Parizi, H.R. Ezatpour, A. Sedghi, Fabrication of A356 composite reinforced with micro and nano Al2O3 particles by a developed compocasting method and study of its properties, J. Alloy. Compd. 511 (2012) 226-231.

[13] A. Ourdjini, K. Chew, C. Khoo, Settling of silicon carbide particles in cast metal matrix composites, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 116 (2001) 72-76.

[14] L. V. Vugt, L. Froyen, Gravity and temperature effects on particle distribution in Al-Si/SiCp composites, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 104 (2000) 133-144.

[15] M. Gupta, L. Lu, S. E. Ang, Effect of microstructural features on the aging behavior of Al-Cu/SiC metal matrix composites processed using casting and rheocasting routes, J. Mater. Sci. 32 (1997) 1261-1267.

[16] A. Cetin, A. Kalkanli, Effect of solidification rate on spatial distribution of SiC particles in A356 alloy composites, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 205 (2008) 1-8.

[17] M. J. Anderson, P. J. Whitcomb, DOE simplified: practical tools for effective experimentation, New York, Productivity Inc., 2000.

[18] Software helps Design-Expert Software, Version 7.1, User's guide, Technical Manual, Stat-Ease Inc., Minneapolis, 2007.

[19] J. Antony, Design of experiments for engineers and scientists, Oxford, Heinemann, 2003.

[20] D.C. Montgomery, Design and analysis of experiment, Wiley, New York, 1997.

[21] A. Dean, D. Voss, Design and analysis of experiments, Springer text in statistics, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1999.

[22] A.K. Sahoo, S. Pradhan, Modeling and optimization of Al/SiCp MMC machining using Taguchi approach, Measurement, 46 (2013) 3064-3072.

[23] N. Mandal, B. Doloi, B. Mondal, R. Das, Optimization of flank wear using Zirconia Toughened Alumina (ZTA) cutting tool: Taguchi method and regression analysis, Measurement, 44 (2011) 2149-2155.

[24] H. Khosravi, R. Eslami-Farsani, M. Askari-Paykani, Modeling and optimization of cooling slope process parameters for semi-solid casting of A356 Al alloy, T. Nonferr. Metal. Soc. 24 (2014) 961-968.

[25] B. Rahimi, H. Khosravi, M. Haddad-Sabzevar, Microstructural characteristics and mechanical properties of Al-2024 alloy processed via a rheocasting route, Int. J. Min. Met. Mater. 22 (2015) 1-9.

[26] R. Rahmani, F. Akhlaghi, Effect of extrusion temperature on the microstructure and porosity of A356-SiCp composites, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 187-188 (2007) 433-436.

[27] S. Neseli, S. Yaldiz, E. Turkes, Optimization of tool geometry parameters for turning operations based on the response surface methodology, Measurement, 44 (2011) 580-587.

[28] H. Khosravi, H. Bakhshi, E. Salahinejad, Effects of compocasting process parameters on microstructural characteristics and tensile properties of A356-SiCp composites, T. Nonferr. Metal. Soc. 24 (2014) 2482-2488.