Influence of high pressure torsion-induced grain refinement and subsequent aging on tribological properties of Cu-Cr-Zr alloy
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Effects of ultrafine grain formation via high pressure torsion (HPT) and precipitation during aging on the microstructure, mechanical and tribological properties of a Cu-Cr-Zr alloy have been investigated systematically. HPT results in the formation of ultrafine-grained (UFG) structure in the alloy with an average grain/subgrain size of 155 nm which leads to remarkable improvement in its hardness and strength along with a reduction in elongation to failure. Aging of UFG alloy brings about further strengthening due to the precipitation. UFG formation by HPT increases substantially the wear resistance of Cu-Cr-Zr alloy and reduces the friction coefficient. The highest wear resistance and the lowest friction coefficient are obtained on the sample processed by HPT and subsequent aging. The dominant wear mechanism of the alloy varies depending on the applied processes. Adhesion with smearing is the predominant wear mechanism for the initial (warm extruded) samples having coarse-grained (CG) structure. UFG samples show less adhesional effect with less smearing, and a higher tendency to the formation of cracks, abrasion and delamination seem to be dominant in those samples. Oxidative wear mechanism is also operative in both CG and UFG alloy samples. It may be concluded from this study that a combined process including UFG formation by HPT and subsequent precipitation by artificial aging provides a simple and effective processing procedure for improving the strength, hardness and wear resistance of Cu–Cr–Zr alloys without modification of the chemical composition. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.