Submitted to the

In partial fulfillment for the award of the degree Of


By MARLON JONES LOUIS Reg No: 081007801005





BONAFIDE CERTIFICATE Certified that this Phase-I project titled, FABRICATION AND ANALYSIS OF ALUMINIUM METAL MATRIX COMPOSITE is the bonafide work of MARLON JONES LOUIS, Register Number: 081007801005 who carried out the research under my supervision. Certified further, that to the best of my knowledge the work reported here is does not form part of any thesis or dissertation on the basis of which, a degree or award was conferred on an early occasion on this or any other candidate.

Head of the Department Prof.P.K. JAYADEV, M.E.,

Project Guide Dr.R.MALAYALAMURTHY, M.E., PhD (Assistant Professor)

Dept. of mechanical engineering Government College of engineering Salem – 11

Dept. of mechanical engineering Government College of engineering Salem – 11

Submitted for the Project Viva-Voce examination held on………….

Internal Examiner

External Examiner


I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Dr.S.R.DAMODHARASAMY, The Principal, Government college of Engineering, Salem-11, for providing me a golden opportunity to do this project.

I wish to record my immense appreciation and sincere thanks to my guide, Asst.Prof.Dr.R.MALAYALAMURTHY Department of Mechanical Engineering, for selecting this project and his hortatory and valuable guidance, encouragement and constructive criticisms at all stages of this project

I sincerely thank Prof.P.K.JAYADEV, Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering for this guidance, constant supervision, suggestion and showing immense important to my project work.

I wish to thank my class advisor, Mr.A.BARANIRAJ, Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, for intellectual support, encouragement, and enthusiasm which made this project possible.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank staff members of faculty of Mechanical Engineering for their valuable suggestions and support Finally, I thank one and all those who are rendering help directly and indirectly at various stages of this project.


In the field of material science and engineering, there is a great impact ever since the invention of composites materials. High strength and lightweight remain the winning combination that propels composite materials into new arenas. The composite materials replace conventional materials like steel, cast iron and aluminum alloys by its superficial properties. As literatures were collected, it could be found that metal matrix composites are under serious consideration as potential candidate materials. To replace conventional materials in aerospace and automotive applications. In this project, composites based on aluminum alloy (Al 2024) reinforced with 10% volume fraction of Silicon Carbide Particulates (SiC) and 5 % volume fraction of Graphite particles is produced by stir casting method. The fabricated composite is tested in order to find its properties and the specimen is analyzed using Ansys software version 10.0. in order to study on cracks




2. 3.

LITERATURE REVIEW COMPOSITE MATERIALS 3.1 COMPOSITE MATERIALS 3.2 CLASSIFICATION OF COMPOSITES 3.2.1 Based on matrix Polymer matrix composites Ceramic matrix composites Metal matrix composites 3.2.2 Based on material structure Particulate composites Fibrous composites Laminate composites 3.3APPLICATION OF COMPOSITES 4. METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES 4.1CLASSIFICATION OF METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES 4.1.1 Particle reinforced composites 4.1.2 Whisker-reinforced composites 4.1.3 Continuous fiber-reinforced composites 4.2 PROCESSING OF METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES 4.2.1 Solid state processing Diffusion bonding Sintering 4.2.2 Liquid state processing Stir casting Infiltration 4.2.3 In-situ fabrication 5. 6. CRACKS FABRICATION OF COMPOSITE 6.1 SELECTIONS OF MATERIALS AND COMPOSITION 6.1.1 Matrix material 6.1.2 Reinforcement materials 6.2 FABRICATION METHOD 7. 8. 9. CONCLUSION APPENDICES REFERNCES


6.1 6.2



ABBREVATIONS ANSYS SiCp Gr Al203 Analysis Software Silicon Carbide Particulates Graphite Aluminium oxide


In an advanced society like ours we all depend on composite materials in some aspect of our lives. Fiber glass, developed in the late 1940s, was the first modern composite and is still the most common. It makes up about 65 per cent of all the composites produced today and is used for boat hulls, surfboards, sporting goods, swimming pool linings, building panels and car bodies. Composites exist in nature. A piece of wood is a composite, with long fibers of cellulose (a very complex form of starch) held together by a much weaker substance called lignin. Cellulose is also found in cotton and linen, but it is the binding power of the lignin that makes a piece of timber much stronger than a bundle of cotton fibres. In engineering materials, composites are formed by coatings, internal adhesives and laminating. An important metal composite is clad metals. Thermostatic controls are made by roll-bonding a high expansion alloy such as copper to a low expansion alloy like steel. When the composite is heated it will deflect to open electrical contacts. Ply wood is a similarly common composite. Since wood is weaker in its transverse direction than its long direction, the alternating grain in plywood overcomes the transverse deficiency. Humans have been using composite materials for thousands of years. The greatest advantage of composite materials is strength and stiffness combined with lightness. In Modern aviation, both military and civil would be much less efficient without composites. In fact, the demands made by that industry for materials that are both light and strong has been the main force driving the development of composites. The airframes of some smaller aircraft are made entirely from

composites, as are the wing, tail and body panels of large commercial aircraft. Composites can be molded into complex shapes. Another advantage of composite materials is that they provide design flexibility. Over recent decades many new composites have been developed, some with very valuable properties. There are varieties of composites that can be manufactured according to the requirements of desired properties for a particular application. Composites as a class of engineering materials provide almost unlimited potential for higher strength, stiffness and corrosion resistance over pure material systems of metals, ceramics and polymers. This will probably be “the steels” of the next century. Composite materials are formed by combining two or more materials that have quite different properties. The different materials work together to give the composite unique properties, but within the composite the materials can be differentiated since they do not dissolve or blend into each other. Composites are made up of two materials namely matrix and reinforcement. The matrix or binder surrounds and binds together a cluster of fibres or fragments of the stronger material (reinforcement). In Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs), ceramics or metals in form of fibres, whiskers or particles used to reinforce in a metal matrix. Most commonly used matrixes are aluminum, magnesium, copper, titanium and zinc. The most commonly used reinforcements are silicon carbide, alumina, boron, graphite and fly ash. The strengthening effect of the reinforcements in composites depends on the orientation of the reinforcements to the direction of the loads.


The objectives of this project are

To fabricate Metal matrix composites with the base metal as Aluminum reinforced with a Volume of 10 % of Silicon carbide particulates and 5 % of graphite particulates by Stir casting method.

To study the cracks using Ansys version 10.0 software

The Al metal matrix composites offer wide range of properties suitable for a large number of engineering applications. Sufficient literatures are available on different aspects of tribology and machining of conventional metals and alloys but limited literature are available for reinforced metal matrix composites. Aluminum-Silicon (Al--Si) casting alloys are the most versatile of all common foundry cast alloys in the production of pistons for automotive engines. Depending on the Si concentration in weight percent, the Al--Si alloy systems fall into three major categories: hypoeutectic (<12 wt % Si), eutectic (12-13 wt % Si) and hypereutectic (14-25 wt % Si). However, commercial applications for hypereutectic alloys are relatively limited because they are among the most difficult Al alloys to cast and machine due to the high Si contents. When high Si content is alloyed into Al, it adds a large amount of heat capacity that must be removed from the alloy to solidify it during a casting operation. Significant variation in the sizes of the primary Si particles can be found between different regions of the cast article, resulting in a significant variation in the mechanical properties for the cast article. The primary crystals of Si must be refined in order to achieve hardness and good wear resistance. On the other hand, the usage of hypoeutectic and eutectic alloys are very popular for the industry, because they are more economical to produce by casting, simpler to control the cast parameters, and easier to machine than hypereutectic. However, most of them are not suitable for high temperature applications, such as in the automotive field, for the reason that their mechanical properties, such as tensile strength, are not as high as desired in the

temperature range of 500° F.-700° F. Current state-of-the-art hypoeutectic and eutectic alloys are intended for applications at temperatures of not higher than about 450° F. The undesirable microstructure and phase transformation results in drastically reduced mechanical properties, more particularly the ultimate tensile strength and high cycle fatigue strengths, for hypoeutectic and eutectic Al--Si alloys. One approach taken by the art is to use ceramic fibres or ceramic particulates to increase the strength of hypoeutectic and eutectic Al--Si alloys. This approach is known as the aluminum Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) technology. For example, R. Bowles has used ceramic fibres to improve tensile strength of a hypoeutectic 332.0 alloy, in a paper entitled, "Metal Matrix Composites Aid Piston Manufacture," Manufacturing Engineering, May 1987. Moreover, A. Shakesheff has used ceramic particulate for reinforcing another type of hypoeutectic A359 alloy, as described in "Elevated Temperature Performance of Particulate Reinforced Aluminum Alloys," Materials Science Forum, Vol. 217-222, pp. 1133-1138 (1996). In a similar approach, cast aluminum MMC for pistons using eutectic alloy such as the 413.0 type, has been described by P. Rohatgi in a paper entitled, "Cast Aluminum Matrix Composites for Automotive Applications," Journal of Metals, April 1991. Vikram Singh and R.C. Prasad has fabricated and analyzed the tensile and fracture behavior of 6061 Al-SiCp metal matrix Composite by reinforcing with 5%, 10% and 15 volume % SiC particles. Vidya Sagar Avadutala has analyzed the cracks in composite materials (aluminum and low carbon steel) using Ansys.


3.1 COMPOSITE MATERIALS Composite material is a material composed of two or more distinct phases (matrix phase and dispersed phase) and having bulk properties significantly different from those of any of the constituents. Matrix phase is the primary phase having a continuous character. Matrix is usually more ductile and is a less hard phase. It holds the dispersed phase and shares a load with it. The second phase (or phases) is embedded in the matrix in a discontinuous form. This secondary phase is called dispersed phase. Dispersed phase is usually stronger than the matrix, therefore it is sometimes called reinforcing phase. Many of common materials (metal alloys, doped Ceramics and Polymers mixed with additives) also have a small amount of dispersed phases in their structures, however they are not considered as composite materials since their properties are similar to those of their base constituents.


CLASSIFICATION OF COMPOSITES There are two classification systems of composite materials. One of them

is based on the matrix material and the second is based on the material structure. 3.2.1 BASED ON MATRIX One commonly used classification of composites is based on matrix used based on the base matrix composites can be divided into three main groups: I. II. III. Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs) Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs) POLYMER MATRIX COMPOSITES Polymer Matrix Composite (PMC) is material consisting of polymer (resin) matrix combined with a fibrous reinforcing dispersed phase. Polymer Matrix Composites are very popular due to their low cost and simple fabrication methods. Use of non-reinforced polymers as structure materials is limited by low level of their mechanical properties. For example the tensile strength of one of the strongest polymers - epoxy resin is 20000 psi (140 MPa). In addition to relatively low strength, polymer materials possess low impact resistance. Two types of polymers are used as matrix materials for fabrication composites. Thermosets (epoxies, phenolics) and Thermoplastics (Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene, nylon, acrylics).

According to the reinforcement material, the groups of Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) used are Fibreglasses, Carbon Fibres, and Kevlar. Reinforcing fibres may be arranged in the form of Unidirectional fibres, Ravings, Veil mat, Chopped strands, Woven fabric. CERAMIC MATRIX COMPOSITES Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) is material consisting of a ceramic matrix combined with a ceramic (oxides, carbides) dispersed phase. Ceramic Matrix Composites are designed to improve toughness of conventional ceramics, the main disadvantage of which is brittleness. Ceramic Matrix Composites are reinforced by either continuous (long) fibres or discontinuous (short) fibres. These composites are mainly used for high temperature applications and in electronic industries. METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) is material consisting of a metallic matrix combined with a ceramic (oxides, carbides) or metallic (lead, tungsten, molybdenum) dispersed phase. Most commonly used matrixes are aluminium, magnesium, copper, titanium and zinc. The most commonly used reinforcements are silicon carbide, alumina, boron, graphite and fly ash. Development of these materials is a subject of great interest as they offer attractive combination of physical and mechanical properties, which cannot be obtained in monolithic alloys. 3.2.2 BASED ON MATERIAL STRUCTURE Based on the material structure composites are classified into 1. Particulate composites 2. Fibrous composites 3. Laminate composites PARTICULATE COMPOSITES Particulate Composites consist of a matrix reinforced by a dispersed phase in form of particles.

Figure 3.1 Particulate Composite These particles are sometimes divided into two subclasses:

Composites with random orientation of particles. It is a structure filled with one or more additional materials.

b) Composites with preferred orientation of particles. Dispersed phase of these materials consists of two-dimensional flat platelets (flakes), laid parallel to each other. Effect of the dispersed particles on the composite properties depends on the particles dimensions. Very small particles (less than 0.25 micron in diameter) finely distributed in the matrix impede movement of dislocations and deformation of the material. Such strengthening effect is similar to the precipitation hardening. In contrast to the precipitation hardening, which disappears at elevated temperatures when the precipitated particles dissolve in the matrix, dispersed phase of particulate composites (ceramic particles) is usually stable at high temperatures, so the strengthening effect is retained. Many of composite materials are designed to work in high temperature applications. Large dispersed phase particles have low

strengthening effect but they are capable to share load applied to the material, resulting in increase of stiffness and decrease of ductility. Hard particles dispersed in a softer matrix increase wear and abrasion resistance. Soft dispersed particles in a harder matrix improve machinability (lead particles in steel or copper matrix) and reduce coefficient of friction (tin in aluminium matrix or lead in copper matrix). FIBROUS COMPOSITES They are composed of reinforced fibres in matrix. They are further classified as Short –fibres and long-fibres reinforced composites.

Short-fibres reinforced composites: Short-fibres reinforced composites consist of a matrix reinforced by a

dispersed phase in form of discontinuous fibres (length < 100*diameter).

Figure 3.2 Short Fibres Reinforced Composite
1. 2.

Composites with random orientation of fibres. Composites with preferred orientation of fibres.


Long-fibres reinforced composites: Long-fibres reinforced composites consist of a matrix reinforced by a

dispersed phase in form of continuous fibres.

Figure 3.3 Long Fibres Reinforced Composite

1. 2.

Unidirectional orientation of fibres. Bidirectional orientation of fibres (woven).

The length of a fiber affects the properties of the composites and also its processing characteristics. Generally continuous fibres are easier to handle than short fibres. The fiber reinforced composites are of interest in aerospace applications where weight saving is of great importance LAMINATE COMPOSITES Laminate composites consist of layers with different anisotropic orientations or of a matrix reinforced with a dispersed phase in form of sheets. When a fibres reinforced composite consists of several layers with different fibres orientations, it is called multilayer (angle-ply) composite.

Laminate composites provide increased mechanical strength in two directions and only in one direction, perpendicular to the preferred orientations of the fibres or sheet, mechanical properties of the material are low. The best example of laminar composite is plywood. 3.3 APPLICATION OF COMPOSITES Hybrid materials and composites form the key to successful development of next-generation aerospace propulsion and power systems. Metal-matrix composites play a significant role in the development of future aerospace components. These materials are not only resistant to high temperatures, but also provide significant improvements in weight specific mechanical and thermal properties. Aluminum is the most attractive non-ferrous matrix material extensively used particularly in the aerospace industry where weight of structural components is crucial .The low density and high specific mechanical properties of aluminum metal matrix composites (MMC) make these alloys one of the most interesting material alternatives for the manufacture of lightweight parts for many types of vehicles. With wear resistance and strength equal to cast-iron, 67% lower density and three times the thermal conductivity, aluminum MMC alloys are ideal materials for the manufacture of lightweight automotive and other commercial parts. The majority of effort in aluminum matrix composites has been directed toward development of high performance composites, with very high strengths and module, for use in specialized aerospace applications. However, there are a number of other applications in aircraft engines and aerospace structures where these very high properties may not be required, and where it could be cost effective to use other metal matrix composites. For example cost, weight, and stiffness-critical components, such as engine static structures, do not require the very high directional properties available with

composites reinforced with aligned continuous fibres. For these reasons, efforts were initiated to assess the potential of applying low cost aluminum matrix composites to these structures, using low-cost reinforcements and low-cost composite fabrication processes, including powder metallurgy, direct casting, and hot molding techniques. Cryogenically processed automobile components like brake rotors, gears, piston, connecting rods, engines and machine parts, tools and gun barrels show significant extension in the performance and productive life. The metallurgy behind cryogenic processing is that it creates a large amount of fine or small carbides that precipitate uniformly throughout the lattice structure, closes and refines grain structures. Treated piston rings seal better against treated cylinder walls reducing blow-by and increasing horsepower. Cylinder blocks do not distort and cylinder bores stay straight and smooth when subjected to heat and vibration.

Application of SiC/Al Composites to Aircraft Engine and Aerospace Structures Studies show that these low cost SiC/Al matrix composites demonstrated a good potential for application to aerospace structures and aircraft engine components. The composites are formable with normal aluminum metal-working techniques and equipment at warm working temperatures. They can also be made directly into structural shapes during fabrication. These composites merit additional work to determine fatigue, long-term stability, and thermal cycle behavior to characterize more fully their properties and allow their consideration for structural design for a variety of aircraft and spacecraft applications. The most significant aspect of these data was the increase in modulus over that of competitive aluminum alloys. At 20 % vol reinforcement, the modulus of SiC/Al composites was about 50% above that of aluminum and approached that of titanium. This increase in modulus was achieved with a material having a density one-third less than that of titanium. Comparison of the properties of the various composites shows that the modulus/density ratio of 20 vol % SiC/Al composites was about 50% greater than that of Al or Ti alloys, while at 30 vol % SiC the advantage was increased to about 70% and at 40 vol % SiC the modulus was almost double that of unreinforced Al or Ti structural alloys


Strength is maximum. Properties of the matrix and the composition of the Conventional monolithic materials have limitations in terms of achievable combinations of strength, stiffness, coefficient of expansion and density. MMCs have emerged as an important class of advanced materials giving engineers the opportunity to tailor the material properties according to their needs. A Metal matrix composite is an engineered combination of two or more materials (one of which is a metal) in which tailored properties are achieved by systematic combination of different constituents. MMC's desirable properties result from the presence of small, high strength ceramic particles, whiskers or fibres uniformly distributed throughout the aluminum alloy matrix. Aluminum MMC castings are economically competitive with iron and steel castings in many cases. However the presence of these wear resistant particles significantly reduces the machinability of the alloys, making machining costs higher due mainly to increased tool wear. As a result, the application of cast MMCs to components requiring a large amount of secondary machining has been somewhat stifled. Development of these materials is a subject of great interest as they offer attractive combination of physical and mechanical properties, which cannot be obtained in monolithic alloys. Essentially, these materials differ from the conventional engineering materials from the point of homogeneity.

The major advantages of MMCs compared to unreinforced materials are as follows:• Higher strength-to-density ratios • Higher stiffness-to-density ratios • Better fatigue resistance • Better elevated temperature properties • Lower coefficients of thermal expansion • Improved abrasion and wear resistance • Improved damping capabilities 4.1 CLASSIFICATION OF METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES Classifications of MMCs based on reinforcement are • Particle reinforced composites • Whisker reinforced composites • Continuous fiber-reinforced composites These classes are briefly discussed in the following sections, 4.1.1 PARTICLE REINFORCED COMPOSITES Particulate composites consist of one or more materials suspended in a metal matrix. These composites generally contain ceramic reinforcements with an aspect ratio less than 5. Ceramic reinforcements used are generally Al2O3, SiCp or Gr and present normally in volume fraction less than 30 % when used for structural and wear resistance applications. Mechanical properties of PMMCs are inferior compared to whisker/fiber reinforced MMCs but far superior compared to

unreinforced alloys. These composites are near isotropic in nature and can be subjected to forming operations like extrusion, rolling and forging. 4.1.2 WHISKER-REINFORCED COMPOSITES Whiskers are generally very short and stubby although the length-todiameter ratio can vary from 20 to 200. Whisker is more perfect than a fiber and hence exhibits even better properties. Whiskers are obtained by crystallization on a very small scale resulting in a nearly perfect alignment of crystals. Short alumina fiber reinforced aluminium matrix composites is one of the first and most popular MMCs to be developed and used in automobile pistons. Mechanical properties of whisker reinforced composites are superior when compared to particle reinforced composites. systems. 4.1.3 CONTINUOUS FIBER-REINFORCED COMPOSITES In fibre reinforced composite materials, the fibre orientation decides the strength of the composite and the direction in which the matrix and the properties of the fibre are other factors which influence the performance of the fibre-reinforced composites. Fibre reinforced composites are produced from a wide range of constituent materials. The length of a fibre affects the properties of the composites and also it’s processing characteristics. Generally continuous fibres are easier to handle than short fibres. The fibre reinforced composites are of interest in aerospace applications where weight saving is of great importance. Whiskers can be incorporated into the composites by various techniques like powder metallurgy and casting techniques to produce metal/whisker

4.2 PROCESSING OF METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES Fabrication methods are important part of the design process for all structural materials including MMCs. Considerable work is under way in this critical area. Different manufacturing techniques are used to fabricate the metal matrix composites. They can be classified into, • Solid state processing • Liquid state processing • In-situ processing The different processing routes for MMCs are briefly discussed in the following sections. 4.2.1 SOLID STATE PROCESSING Solid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites is a of process, in which Metal Matrix Composites are formed as a result of bonding matrix metal and dispersed phase due to mutual diffusion occurring between them in solid states at elevated temperature and under pressure. Low temperature of solid state fabrication process (as compared to Liquid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites) depresses undesirable reactions on the boundary between the matrix and dispersed (reinforcing) phases. There are two principal groups of solid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites: 1. Diffusion bonding 2. Sintering. DIFFUSION BONDING Diffusion Bonding is a solid state fabrication method, in which matrix in form of foils and dispersed phase in form of layers of long fibres are stacked in a particular order and then pressed at elevated temperature. The finished laminate composite material has a multilayer structure. Application of pressure and temperature either by hot or cold pressing provides good bonding between the fibre and the matrix in the perform. This improves the strength of the composites by introduction of plastic deformation in matrix and removing voids to densify the composite fully Diffusion Bonding is used for fabrication of simple shape parts (plates, tubes). SINTERING Sintering fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites is a process, in which a powder of a matrix metal is mixed with a powder of dispersed phase in form of particles or short fibres for subsequent compacting and sintering in solid state (sometimes with some presence of liquid). Sintering is the method involving consolidation of powder grains by heating the “green” compact part to a high temperature below the melting point, when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighbouring powder particles. In contrast to the liquid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, sintering method allows obtaining materials containing up to 50% of dispersed phase.

Metal Matrix Composites may be deformed also after sintering operation by rolling, forging, and pressing, Drawing or Extrusion. The deformation operation may be either cold (below the recrystallization temperature) or hot (above the recrystallyzation temperature). Deformation of sintered composite materials with dispersed phase in form of short fibres results in a preferred orientation of the fibres and anisotropy of the material properties (enhanced strength along the fibres orientation). 4.2.2 LIQUID STATE PROCESSING Liquid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites involves incorporation of dispersed phase into a molten matrix metal, followed by its Solidification. In order to provide high level of mechanical properties of the composite, good interfacial bonding (wetting) between the dispersed phase and the liquid matrix should be obtained. Wetting improvement may be achieved by coating the dispersed phase particles (fibres). Proper coating not only reduces interfacial energy, but also prevents chemical interaction between the dispersed phase and the matrix. The techniques used for producing cast particulate composites using liquid metallurgy are Stir casting and Infiltration process STIR CASTING The simplest and the most cost effective method of liquid state fabrication is Stir Casting. Stir Casting is a liquid state method of composite materials fabrication, in which a dispersed phase (ceramic particles, short fibres) is mixed with a molten matrix metal by means of mechanical stirring. The liquid composite material is then cast by conventional casting methods and may also be processed by conventional Metal forming technologies. Stir Casting is characterized by the following features:

Content of dispersed phase is limited (usually not more than 30 vol%). Distribution of dispersed phase throughout the matrix is not perfectly homogeneous:

1. There are local clouds (clusters) of the dispersed particles (fibres); 2. There may be gravity segregation of the dispersed phase due to a difference in the densities of the dispersed and matrix phase.

The technology is relatively simple and low cost.

Distribution of dispersed phase may be improved if the matrix is in semi-solid condition. The method using stirring metal composite materials in semi-solid state is called Rheocasting. High viscosity of the semi-solid matrix material enables better mixing of the dispersed phase. INFILTRATION Infiltration is a liquid state method of composite materials fabrication, in which a preformed dispersed phase (ceramic particles, fibres, woven) is soaked in a molten matrix metal, which fills the space between the dispersed phase inclusions. The motive force of an infiltration process may be either capillary force of the dispersed phase (spontaneous infiltration) or an external pressure (gaseous, mechanical, electromagnetic, centrifugal or ultrasonic) applied to the liquid matrix phase (forced infiltration). Gas pressure infiltration Gas Pressure Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a pressurized gas for applying pressure on the molten metal and forcing it to penetrate into a preformed dispersed phase. Gas Pressure Infiltration method is used for manufacturing large composite parts. The method allows using non-coated fibres due to short contact time of the fibres with the hot metal.In contrast to the methods using mechanical force, Gas Pressure Infiltration results in low damage of the fibres.

Squeeze casting infiltration Squeeze Casting Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a movable mold part (ram) for applying pressure on the molten metal and forcing it to penetrate into a performed dispersed phase, placed into the lower fixed mold part. Squeeze Casting Infiltration method is similar to the Squeeze casting technique used for metal alloys casting. Squeeze Casting Infiltration process has the following steps:

A perform of dispersed phase (particles, fibres) is placed into the lower fixed mold half.

A molten metal in a predetermined amount is poured into the lower mold half. The upper movable mold half (ram) moves downwards and forces the liquid metal to infiltrate the pre form.

The infiltrated material solidifies under the pressure. The part is removed from the mold by means of the ejector pin.

The method is used for manufacturing simple small parts (automotive engine pistons from aluminum alloy reinforced by alumina short fibres).

Pressure die infiltration Pressure Die Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a Die casting technology, when a preformed dispersed phase (particles, fibres) is placed into a die (mould) which is then filled with a molten metal entering the die through a sprue and penetrating into the pre form under the pressure of a movable piston (plunger). 4.2.3 IN-SITU FABRICATION In situ fabrication of Metal Matrix Composite is a process, in which dispersed (reinforcing) phase is formed in the matrix as a result of precipitation from the melt during its cooling and Solidification. Different types of Metal Matrix Composites may be prepared by in situ fabrication method: 1. Particulate in situ MMC – Particulate composite reinforced by in situ synthesized dispersed phase in form of particles. Examples: Aluminum matrix reinforced by titanium boride (TiB2) particles, magnesium matrix reinforced by Mg2Si particles. 2. Short-fibre reinforced in situ MMC – Short-fibre composite reinforced by in situ synthesized dispersed phase in form of short fibres or whiskers (single crystals grown in form of short fibres). Examples: Titanium matrix reinforced by titanium boride (TiB2) whiskers, Aluminum matrix reinforced by titanium aluminide (TiAl3) whiskers.

3. Long-fibre reinforced in situ MMC – Long-fibre composite reinforced by in situ synthesized dispersed phase in form of continuous fibres. Example: Nickel-aluminum (NiAl) matrix reinforced by long continuous fibres of Mo (NiAl-9Mo alloy). Dispersed phases of in situ fabricated Metal Matrix Composites may consist of intermetallic compounds, carbides, borides, oxides, one of eutectic ingredients. Advantages of in situ Metal Matrix Composites:

In situ synthesized particles and fibres are smaller than those in materials with separate fabrication of dispersed phase (ex-situ MMCs). Fine particles provide better strengthening effect;

In situ fabrication provides more homogeneous distribution of the dispersed phase particles;

Bonding (adhesion) between the particles of in situ formed dispersed phase and the matrix is better than in ex-situ MMCs;

Equipment and technologies for in situ fabrication of MMCs are less expensive.

Disadvantages of in situ Metal Matrix Composites:

Choice of the dispersed phases is limited by thermodynamic ability of their precipitation in particular matrix;

The size of dispersed phase particles is determined by solidification conditions

A crack is a type of fracture that separates a solid body into two, or more, pieces under the action of stress. There are three types of modes of failure [4]. Mode I: The forces are perpendicular to the crack (the crack is horizontal and the forces are vertical), pulling the crack open. This is referred to as the opening mode. Mode II: The forces are parallel to the crack. One force is pushing the top half of the crack back and the other is pulling the bottom half of the crack forward, both along the same line. This creates a shear crack: the crack is sliding along itself. It is called in-plane shear because the forces are not causing the material to move out of its original plane. Mode III: The forces are perpendicular to the crack (the crack is in front-back direction, the forces are pulling left and right). This causes the material to separate and slide along itself, moving out of its original plane (which is why it’s called out-of-plane shear).

Figure 5.1 Three Loading Modes


6.1 SELECTION OF MATERIALS AND COMPOSITION  The base metal is chosen as Aluminium 2024.

The reinforcement is chosen as silicon carbide particulates and Graphite particulates (SiCp, Gr) With the base metal as Aluminium, the composite is to be fabricated with 10% volume of Silicon Carbide Particulates and 5%.of Graphite

6.1.1 Matrix material Aluminium, the second most abundant metallic element on the earth, became an economic competitor in engineering applications recently. The metal matrix selected for present investigation is Al 2024. The chemical composition of the matrix material is as shown the Table.

Table 6.1 Chemical Composition of Al 2024 (weight %) Element Nominal Composition % ( Weight) Actual Comp% (Weight) 0.24 Si 0.50 max Fe Cu Mn to Mg to Zn max Ti 0.15 max V 0.15 max Zr max Al

0.50 3.8 to 0.30 1.20 0.25 max 7.90 0.90 1.80 0.20 4.43 0.47 1.32 0.07

0.15 Balance



0.01 Balance

The typical Composition of the matrix material is shown in the following table. Table 6.2 Typical Composition of Al 2024 (weight %) Element Al Cu Mg Mn Weight in % 93.50 4.4 1.5 0.6

This matrix was chosen since it provides excellent combination of strength and damage tolerance at high strength applications like structural components and high strength weldments. It also has a high heat dissipation capacity due to its high thermal conductivity.

6.1.2 REINFORCEMENT MATERIALS SiC particles are the most commonly used reinforcement materials in the discontinuously reinforced metal-matrix composite system. Aluminum matrix composites reinforced with SiC particulates provide for a low-cost, high-modulus material that can be processed via conventional powder metallurgy techniques. With increased additions of SiC reinforcement, the modulus increases, and losses in strength, ductility, and toughness may occur. Also, the role of the interfacial bond between SiC particulates and the aluminum matrix may further detract from the mechanical properties when the composite is subjected to high temperatures. Particle size and shape are important factors in determining materials properties. Fatigue strength is greatly improved with the use of fine particles. The SiC particles, which were used to fabricate the composite, had an average particle size of 23 µ m and average density of 3.2 g / cm3. It is the second hardest material after diamond with a Mohr’s hardness of 9.5. The melting point of the SiCp is 2890 0C. The graphite particles used for hybrid composites are of 45 µ m size and average density of 2.25 g / cm3. It is a soft material with a hardness of 1-2 Mohr’s scale, with a melting point of 36500 C. Graphite is a natural lubricant used in many applications.


Since the Al 2024 is found in bulk quantities in the market it is proposed to first fabricate the Al 2024 metal by using the typical composition as shown in the table 5.2. The materials are displayed in photographs below. STIR CASTING The stir casting technique was used to fabricate the composite specimen as it ensures a more uniform distribution of the reinforcing particles. This method is most economical to fabricate composites with discontinuous fibers or particulates. In this process, matrix alloy (Al 2024) was first superheated above its melting temperature and then temperature is lowered gradually below the liquidus temperature to keep the matrix alloy in the semisolid state. At this temperature, the preheated Sic particles of 10 % (by weight) and graphite particle of average size of 23 µm and 45 µm respectively were introduced into the slurry and mixed using a graphite stirrer. The composite slurry temperature was increased to fully liquid state and automatic stirring was continued to about five minutes at an average stirring speed of 300-350 rpm under protected organ gas. The SiCp particles help in distributing the graphite particles uniformly throughout the matrix alloy. The melt was then superheated above liquidus temperature and finally poured into the cast iron permanent mould for testing specimen. The specification of the fabricated billet composite is150 mm length and 50 mm width and a thickness of 20 mm The composite metal after been ejected from the mold is then rolled in a hot rolling machine up to 15 passes. This is done in order to help in distributing the silicon carbide particulates in the metal matrix and thereby improving the mechanical properties. The billet composite, due to hot rolling reduces its thickness and as an end result edge cracks are being formed.

The relevant materials and the selection criteria have been collected and identified. The type of crack and material properties have been studied in phase –I. In the phase-II project, the composite metal is fabricated, hot rolled and the analysis of the fabricated composite with edged cracks is studied and the outcome will be the solution for different applications of the composite material in the field of aerospace and automotive industries.



Abis, Composites science and technology, Vol.35, pp.1-11.



“Characteristics of an aluminium alloy/Alumina Metal Matrix composite”, Brian England, pp.41-47. 3. ASM International, (1993), “Advanced Materials and Processes”, Vol.143 No.6, p.21.





Glyn.,(1990), Metal matrix composite, Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd.,

American Foundry men’s Society, Cast metals handbook, 4th ed., Desplaines (1957). J.J. Sha, J.S. Park, T. Hinoki


and A. Kohyama, “Tensile behavior and microstructural characterization of SiC fibres under loading”, Materials Science and Engineering: A, Volume 456, Issues 1-2, 15 May 2007, Pages 72-77.

Websites www.efunda.com www.springerlink.com www.google.com

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