Ag1-xAlx alloys were investigated as potential sliding electrical contact materials. Seven Ag1-xAlx alloys, covering the different phase regions on the Ag-Al phase diagram, were prepared by arc melting. X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy coupled with X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), nano- and microindentation, and four-point electrical contact resistance measurements were employed to characterize the composition, structure, and physicochemical properties of the alloys. The hardness of Ag1-xAlx alloys increases with Al content. The Ag1-xAlx alloys with hexagonal close-packed (hcp) structure exhibit better tribological properties than pure Ag and other phase compositions. The wear mechanisms change from adhesive, for the alloys with low Al content (≤20 at. %) to oxidative and abrasive wear for the alloys with high Al content (≥25 at. %). The Ag1-xAlx alloys with hcp structure exhibit the highest wear resistance. Depth-profile XPS data reveal that the oxide layer grows during the triboprocess and that its thickness increases with number of sliding cycles. Ag/Ag1-xAlx contact pairs exhibit higher contact resistance than the Ag/Ag pair and the contact resistance increases with Al content.
Tribology International – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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