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Particle reinforced aluminium and magnesium

matrix composites
D. J. Lloyd

Particle reinforced metal matrix composites are
now being produced commerically, and in this
paper the current status of these materials is
reviewed. The different types of reinforcement
being used, together with the alternative
processing methods, are discussed. Depending on
the initial processing method, different factors
have to be taken into consideration to produce a
high quality billet. With powder metallurgy
processing, the composition of the matrix and the
type of reinforcement are independent of one
another. However, in molten metal processing they
are intimately linked in terms of the different
reactivities which occur between reinforcement
and matrix in the molten state. The factors
controlling the distribution of reinforcement are
also dependent on the initial processing method.
Secondary fabrication methods, such as extrusion
and rolling, are essential in processing composites
produced by powder metallurgy, since they are
required to consolidate the composite fully. Other
methods, such as spray casting, molten metal
infiltration, and molten metal mixing give an
essentially fully consolidated product directly, but
extrusion, etc., can improve the properties by
modifying the reinforcement distribution. The
mechanical properties obtained in metal matrix
composites are dependent on a wide range of
factors, and the present understanding, and areas
requiring further study, are discussed. The
successful commercial production of metal matrix
composites will finally depend on their cost
effectiveness for different applications. This
requires optimum methods of processing,
machining, and recycling, and the routes being
developed to achieve this are considered.

© 1994 The Institute of Materials and ASM International.
The author is with Alcan International
Ltd, Kingston
Research and Development
Centre, Kingston,

application as selective reinforcement in the ring land
area of diesel pistons," and whisker reinforcement is
under development for aerospace applications.
Particle reinforced light metals, with their potential
as low cost, high modulus and strength, high wear
resistance, and easily fabricated material, are just
reaching the commercial production stage. .Understanding the factors that influence the physical and
, mechanical properties of these materials presents quite
a challenge, because they are sensitive to the type of
the mode of manufacture,
and the
details of any fabrication processing of the composite
after initial manufacture. While there are still many
areas which are poorly understood, the work of the
past five years or so has identified many of the key
factors which have to be considered to achieve optimum properties.
The objective of the present paper is to give an
overview of the current understanding
of particle
reinforced light metal composites, identify some of
the key factors which need to be controlled - which
may be specific to the mode of manufacture
processing - and consider some of the main problem
areas which need to be overcome if these materials
are to reach their full commerical potential.
In a field which typically has about 20 publications
a month, it is inevitable that a review such as this
has to be highly selective. It will only consider Aland Mg-based matrices, even though Ti-based systems have considerable potential, particularly for high
temperature applications. Most of the published work
has considered AI-based composites, with their attractions of low density, wide alloy range, heat treatment
capability, and processing flexibility. Many of these
features are also exhibited by Mg-based systems, and
with its lower elastic modulus Mg often achieves a
larger property improvement with reinforcement than
does Al, Also, many of the composite fabrication
processes are common to both AI- and Mg-based


The reinforcement

The development of metal matrix composites (MMCs)
has been one of the major innovations in materials
in the past 20 years. Many of the social and technological factors influencing this development have been
reviewed by Kelly.1 The early work on composites
considered continuous fibre reinforcement, and while
work in this area continues.' it was soon apparent
that the cost of continuous fibres, complex fabrication
routes, and limited fabricability, would restrict their
use to those applications requiring the ultimate in
performance. This led to the development of discontinuously reinforced composites, particularly
staple Al, 03 fibre" and SiC whisker" reinforced composites. Discontinuous fibres have found commercial

A recent overview of the short fibres and whiskers
available for metal matrix composites has been given
by Stacey." Since most ceramics are available as
particles, there is a wide range of potential reinforcements for particle reinforced composites. Rohatgi and
co-workers have used mica," alumina, silicon carbide,
and clay," zircon," and graphite, 10 and other
reinforcements, such as boron carbide!' and titanium
diboridc.F have also been examined. However, the
choice of reinforcement is not as arbitrary as this
list of composites might suggest, but is dictated by
several factors:
1. The application: if the composite is to be used
in a structural application, the modulus, strength, and

Materials Reviews


Vol. 39




Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites

density of the composite will be important, which
requires a high modulus, low density reinforcement.
Particle shape may be important,
since angular
particles can act as local stress raisers, reducing
ductility. If the composite is to be used in thermal
management applications, the coefficient of thermal
expansion and thermal conductivity are important.
The coefficient of thermal expansion is generally
important because it influences the strength of the
composite, as discussed in the section 'Strength' below.
2. The method of composite
considered in the next section, there are two generic
methods for composite manufacture, powder metallurgy and methods involving molten metal. In the
case of powder metallurgy, the matrix alloy powder
is blended with particles of the reinforcement
achieve a homogeneous mixture. To achieve this, the
sizes of the metal and ceramic powders need to be
carefully chosen so that agglomerates are not left after
blending, and carryover into the final product. The
size ratio will depend on the blending
process used, but in one case a SiC/AI particle size
ratio of 0·7: 1 gave a more uniform reinforcement
distribution than a ratio of O'3 : 1 (Ref. 13). In powder
metallurgy processing, the brittle ceramic particles
are also susceptible to particle fracture, which is
dependent on the particle aspect ratio and flaw density. Typically, the atomised aluminium
particle size is in the range 20-40 urn, and reinforcement particle sizes are 3-20 urn with aspect ratios
of < 5: 1.
For composites processed in the molten state, there
are different considerations.
In some of these processes, the ceramic particles can spend considerable
time in contact with the molten alloy matrix, and this
can result in reaction between the twO.14 For example,
SiC is thermodynamically
unstable in most molten
Al alloys, reacting to form aluminium carbide, Al4 C3,
whereas it is stable in many molten Mg alloys. On
the other hand, Al2 03 is stable in most Mg-free Al
alloys, but unstable in Mg ailoys, reacting to form
spinel, Al2 MgO 4' Reaction of the reinforcement can
severely degrade the properties of the composite, so
the reinforcement has to be chosen after considering
the matrix alloy, and the processing time and temperature. The reinforcement particle size is also important
because, while it is generally easier to incorporate
coarser particles into the melt, large particles are
more susceptible to gravity settling and can result
in a heavily segregated casting.P However, finer
particles increase the viscosity of the melt, making
processing difficult. Most molten metal processes use
ceramic particles in the 10-20 urn size range.
3. Cost: a major reason for using particles is to
reduce the cost of the composite, so the reinforcement
has to be readily available in the quantities, size, and
shape required at low cost, i.e, about US$5/kg.
Table 1

Cold Isostatic





Powder metallurgy



With these considerations
in mind, the <, two
reinforcements receiving the most attention are SiC
and Al2 3, and some of the properties of these two
reinforcements are given in Table 1.


Composite manufacture
While the details of the different manufacturing routes
are often proprietary, the important features are quite
well established.
Powder metallurgy
Because of the difficulty in wetting ceramic particles'
with molten metal, the powder metallurgy route was
the first method developed. The essential features of
the powder route are shown in Fig. 1. The metal
powder is usually prealloyed atomised powder, in the
20-40 urn size range, but it can also be a blend of
elemental powders, or rapidly solidified chopped
ribbon or flake, as in the Allied-Signal process.l" As
noted previously, the blending step is important since
this establishes the initial homogeneity of the composite. Because the metal powder particles have a
hydrated oxide film, it is necessary to remove the
associated water molecules before consolidation
subsequent gas porosity is to be avoided. The vacuum
hot pressing consolidates the composite to over 95%

Properties of SiC and AI203 "reinforcement


GN m-z

9 cm-3








Materials Reviews


Coefficient of
thermal expansion,

J kg-1 K-1

Wm-1 K-1


7·0 x 10-6



at 11 OO°C


at 1000°C


Vol. 39



The typical microstructure of a 6061/AI203/20p* Duralcan composite after casting and extrusion is shown in Fig. stoichiometry. 30 Comalco has recently introduced Comral. and time. and cast as pig or direct chill (DC) ingot. and the molten metal methods attempt to improve this wetting behaviour. or in the liquid-solid region. It allows essentially any alloy to be used as the matrix.20-23 and demonstrate that the contact angle between molten aluminium and the ceramic particle must be less than 90° for successful incorpor- 2 Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 3 Microstructure of Duralcan 606120 vol. The major breakthrough in mixing processes came with the development of the Duralcan ™ (Duralcan ™ owned by Alcan Aluminum Corp. The wetting angle is usually measured by the sessile drop method. but this should decrease with future scale-up. 3. using uncoated ceramic particles of about 10 urn and larger. > 50 um. . This method is helped by the addition to the melt of surface active elements.26. < 10 vol.Lloyd dense. The powder metallurgy route has several attractive features: 1. and is influenced by several variables including the heat of formation. A high extrusion ratio is required to disrupt the oxide film between metal powder particles. Non-equilibrium alloys can be used for the matrix by using rapidly solidified material."? 4. such as magnesium to aluminium melts. the extrusion ratio and temperature must be carefully controlled to avoid reinforcement particle cracking. High volume fractions of reinforcement are possible. it allows all the conventional *The suggested Aluminum Association designation for composites: matrix/reinforcement/volume fraction and reinforcement type (p refers to particle reinforcement) is used throughout. interfacial reactions. and this results in rejection of the particles from the melt. mixed oxide.e. 39 No. The Duralcan material is now being commercially produced in batches of up to 6800 kg. and produces reinforcement levels of up to 25 vol. and can be carried out below the solidus of the alloy. However. The molten metal mixing method is attractive because. since the plastic flow associated with extrusion tends to disperse any clusters of reinforcing particles. temperature. 2.1 . Liquid phase sintering will also degrade the microstructure of the rapidly solidified powder particles. but it has the disadvantage that reaction can more readily occur between the reinforcement and the liquid phase to form undesirable intermetallics at the ceramic particle interface." The extruded microstructure of this composite is shown in Fig. and generate coarse eutectic intermetallic phases in the melted regions. in principle. the process is limited to coarse ceramic particles.27 or metal coated particles. the product is expensive in comparison with conventional wrought aluminium alloys. A high extrusion ratio also improves the distribution of reinforcement. < 800°C. potentially explosive powders and the manufacturing route is relatively complex and limited in the initial product forms it can produce. molten aluminium does not wet most ceramic particles at typical casting temperatures. which is 6061 reinforced with a spherical. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. Mixing methods The early mixing method of Surappa and Rohatgi " introduced ceramic particles through the sides of a vortex created in the melt with a mechanical impeller. valence electron concentration. As a result. Molten metal methods Early attempts to incorporate ceramic particles into metallic melts had limited success because most metals do not wet ceramic particles. and rapidly solidified alloys have much better elevated temperature strength than conventional alloys._%. This is particularly important where the composite is to be used for high temperature applications. Completely solid state consolidation enables advantage to be taken of the supersaturated metastable alloy compositions that can be obtained by the rapid solidification atomisation and ribbon casting processes.18.-%AI203 composite after extrusion ation. Two other aluminium companies have announced the development of a molten mixing method. 2. thus maximising the modulus and minimising the coefficient of thermal expansion of the composite. AI203-Si02.'? This process is applicable to conventional aluminium alloys._%. reinforcement.19 The basic thermodynamics associated with incorporating a single particle into a melt have been considered in some detail. Hydro Aluminium AS have discussed composites which appears to be comparable with Duralcan material. and degradation of the matrix if rapidly solidified powders are being used. The powder route also has some major disadvantages: it involves handling large quantities of highly reactive. The final wrought product is obtained by extrusion.) process by Skibo and Schuster. however. allowing metal to metal contact and the development of a good bond between the metal particles." However. and currently costs over US$100/kg. and low volume fractions. The kinetics of densification are higher using liquid phase sintering. with an extrusion ratio of about 20: 1 or higher. It also allows any type of reinforcement to be used because reaction between the matrix and reinforcement can be minimised by using solid state processing.i" In general. 3. i.

and the reinforcement redispersed by submerged mixing. by replacing the ceramic bed with the pressure infiltrated composite hardener.37 The process is restricted to longer freezing range alloys and. etc.. a bottom mixing process has been suggested.. the viscosity of molten composites is much larger.36 This method has been developed for magnesium alloys by the Dow Chemical CO. Primex ™ pressureless infiltration process.-%SiC metal processing routes to be used. have some problems in terms of reactivity between the reinforcement and the melt. It does.-% spherical oxide after extrusion 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 SHEAR RATE 5-1 I 4 Shear rate dependence of viscosity of A356-15 vol. The volume fraction of reinforcement is also limited in the mixing method because the viscosity of the melt increases with particle content and becomes non-Newtonian.---------------- C\J I E z V) 25 20 >t::: 15 (j) o u (j) s 10 5 O-+---. Pressure infiltration In this process. this dispersion is quite difficult because of the' high viscosity of the master hardener.44. With the additional dilution stage. 39 NO. Recently.42 In this process a packed bed of ceramic powder is infiltrated by an AI.1 evacuated packed bed in the bottom of a crucible is covered with a melt. but it would appear to be a very competitive process for higher volume fraction composites. Semisolid casting The microstructures developed by stirring a semisolid melt were investigated in the early 1970s. both of which are considered in later sections. and at infiltration rates of up to the order of centimetres per minute under some processing conditions. The viscosity of unreinforced aluminium is about 10-3Nsm-2. At the present time.P" Combining these two processes. and hence minimises the cost. has the same limitations as the fully liquid mixing methods." and increases with increasing volume fraction and decreasing particle size. and shear rate dependent.?' . The 'Spray Co-deposition Process' is a variant of the basic process. if desired. may provide a useful way of diluting the hardener.%. other than this.4 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 30-.34 The partially solidified. This hardener can then be diluted by adding it to an unreinforced melt.Mg alloy.F The rheology of molten composites is poorly understood. where an International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. and it is difficult to obtain dispersion without incorporation of gas and oxide into the melt. with particle sizes as fine as about 1 urn have been infiltrated in this way. and the stirrer shears the interface between the particles and the melt. but appears to be history dependent.J o 3 Microstructure of Comalco 6061-20 vol.45 It involves atomising a melt and collecting the semisolid droplets on a substrate. Ceramic particles of SiC and A1203. the power requirements necessary for mixing limits the amount of reinforcement that can be used.----r-~~~~~~~~E. As a result. where ceramic particles are introduced into the spray and codeposited with the alloy droplets/" The deposition rate . viscosity. which has a packed bed density of about 55 vol.Pr" However. the master composite has very low porosity. and particle segregation effects."? The pressure infiltration route has the advantage that it is a means of producing composites with a high volume fraction of reinforcement. Spray deposition The spray deposition process for unreinforced alloys was developed by Singer.e." and put into commercial use by Osprey Metals. a packed bed of ceramic particles is evacuated and then infiltrated by a pressurised melt to form a 'master composite hardener' containing about 50 vol-" of reinforcement. and can be used to retain particles in the melt. the same factors come into playas with the direct mixing route.'but as seen from Fig. Processing details of the Primex ™ route are proprietary. composite material is available from Duralcan for about US$6/kg.. in a nitrogen atmosphere. 4. however. and since the system is evacuated.. No costs for this process are presently available. As a result. non-dendritic microstructure developed has high viscosity which inhibits ceramic particle settling and floating. can then be diluted in the appropriate matrix alloy. Pressu reless i nfi Itration A recent molten metal process is the Lanxide Corp. 35. reactivity. without any applied pressure. The resulting composite. resulting in incorporation. the process is a hybrid rapid solidification process. i.

The thermodynamic stability.Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 5 65G-r--------------------. where the 'solid deposit' is built up to a billet for subsequent fabrication. though the material reported in the literature has particles in the 0·25-1·5)lm range. in which ceramic particles are produced in situ in a melt. and require a secondary fabrication step to achieve full density.'" The process consists of adding to a solvent metal. producing 200 kg ingots. of most of the reinforcements of interest has recently been reviewed.7075jSiCj15p. However. which may make handling and dilution difficult. there is little detailed information in the open literature on the processing aspects of in situ composites. and the appropriate choice will depend on the application and acceptable cost. (2) and C Decrease of melting point with time at 675°C for 7075-15 vol. as shown in International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. reacting to form aluminium carbide. as shown in Fig. including the advanced aerospace alloys.5 2 3 4 TIME AT 675°C. the reinforcement size can be varied from ~ 0·2 to 10 urn.."? A diagrammatical representation of the A1can system is shown in Fig. such as aluminium. and therefore provide high interfacial strength.. h ReInforced Wall 6 5 Spray codeposition system is 6-10 kg min .!" In silicon free alloys.----.. so it is difficult to assess the cost of this material. which is then diluted in a melt of the desired matrix alloy. It has the attraction of producing particles which should be inherently wetted by the matrix.1. in turn. (1) . XD™ process This is a rather different approach to composite manufacture than the previous molten metal methods. reaction between the reinforcement and the matrix can also result in changes in the matrix alloy metallurgy which will. The XD™ process is a patented composite manufacturing method developed by Martin Marietta Corp.53. and should have clean.~ ToAlr 62 61 600-+--.-°J'oSiC (after Ref. the fine particle size is expected to produce highly viscous melts. By varying the process parameters. The process has the advantage that the contact time between the melt and the reinforcing particles is brief. so reaction between the two is limited and a wider range of reinforcements are possible provided the as sprayed billets are not remelted. Matrix-reinforcement reactivity A recurring theme in the composite literature is the reactivity between the matrix and the reinforcement since it can have a significant effect on the interfacial strength. The initial billets are typically 95-98% dense. influence such basic properties as the melting point of the alloy'" and its strength. which can be formed by the following reactions 2B + Ti + Al ~ TiB2 + Al . compounds which will react exothermally to produce the required reinforcing particles. SiC is thermodynamically unstable above the melting point. 6 for an AI-Zn.. and the melting point of the composite decreases with time.----r---. As the reaction proceeds the silicon level increases. and Alcan is presently developing this route commercially.54 and hence the deformation and fracture of the composite.r" The cost of composites produced by spray codeposition should be intermediate between powder processed composites. 39 No.57 The aluminium carbide reaction can be avoided by using high silicon alloys for the matrix. PVC Exterior Claddll)Q 64 v (/)~ 63 ::> Pressure Relief Venls \ o :5 a :J . any matrix composition can be used. 57) + Ti + AI~TiC + Al The particles are typically single crystal. A wide range of ceramic compounds can be formed by this process. unoxidised interfaces because they are formed in situ. (3) with an increase in the silicon level of the matrix. and material made by the mixing method.--' o 0. 52 To date.. 56) 4AI + 3SiC~ Al4 C3 + 3Si .1 ... An alternative in situ method for producing TiC particles is to inject a carbon-carrying gas into an AI. However. in aluminium and magnesium alloys. As long as the alloy has a sufficient freezing range to achieve atomisation at moderate superheats. such as the AI-Li 8090 alloy.----r---.---r---. such as reaction temperature. 50 but the two which have received most attention are TiB2 and TiC.Ti melt at a sufficient temperature for the exothermic reaction to TiC to occur." The initial composite is then used as a hardener with a pure aluminium matrix. 5. therefore. a range of composite production routes available in varying degrees of commercial development. Al4 C3 (Ref. There is.Mg matrix composite.

therefore. Nucleation of reaction product at preferred SItes on the reinforcement. which will form carbides. Aluminium oxide. (6) WO-We where Wo is the initial Mg concentration at t = 0.Mg alloys USIng an approach which may be applicable to. such as MgO. from equation (5). a(t). such as MgO and Y 203 will be stable.oC Silicon level required peratures to prevent reaction (after Ref. partt. While these thermodynamic considerations show the tendency for reaction to occur. . 3. Expressing the extent of reaction.9 CJ) 2 L---'--4-----+--+--f----t--+---+--+--+ 0. Al203 will be unstable to some extent in magnesium alloys. since in this case the contact time is only in the order of seconds.02 CJ) 2 0. Figure 9 ° International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol.0 C\I 0. other reinfo~cements.Mg alloys ° 3Mg+AI203~3MgO+2AI . and is shown in Fig. in some cases.tum carbide formation is not a factor because silicon carbide is stable below the solidus. w(t) (4) and 3Mg+4AI203~3MgAI204+2AI . this IS not the case for Al2 3. that Al203 is not thermodynamically stable in most aluminium alloys. unlike SiC which is stable below the sohdus. (5) The magnesium in equilibrium for equations (4) and (5) has been calculated. Obviously. Continued dissolution of reinforcement in direct contact with liquid aluminium. 2.04 ~ CJ) 2 CJ) L 2 . a solute enriched region.cularly when large scale casting processes. alum~n. while the spinel will form down to very low magnesium levels. Al2 3. Thermodynamic stability of AI-Mg AI-Mg alloys (after Ref. and in these magnesium alloys reaction may occur if the contact times are sufficiently long. or remelting are involved. since the p~rticleliquid metal contact times can be long. but other oxides.6 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 2.Mg alloy. 8. It is not surprising. high silicon aluminium alloys are p~efe~red.10 <( e CJ) ° I -ri ~ 10 co 1. 59) oxides in shows the spinel crystals formed on the surface of Al2 03 particles after reaction above the melting point in an AI. and lower ume t as Wo - a(t)=--- w(t) .g 0. but reacts with magnesium in AI. MgO may form.5 11 0.5 8 C\I . The spray codeposition method is the least susceptible. but often react in a more complex manner.58 So for processing routes involving long contact times between the reinforcement and the melt. So solid state processing may still result in reinforcement reaction in this case. In p~~der processing using solid state consolidation. K ~oo 7 8 700 800 TEMPERATURE. Other carbides. 14 Magnesium has no stable carbide. if liquid phase sintering is involved there is th~ potential for reaction. Other oxides. is stable in pure aluminium. many of the magnesium alloys of interest contain alloying elements such as aluminium. and reaction can continue in the solid state.59 At high magnesium levels. However. however.06 o ~ MgO M o C\I -.1 9 Spinel crystals on surface of extracted crystals AI203 . There are three stages of the reaction which may be attributed to: .08 "3 0.0 +----+---+---+--t--+----+--+---+---I---t 14 -t- o'!- 13 I I ~ ~ 12 1. Dissolution of the reinforcement separated from the liquid aluminium by reaction product and. such as boron carbide and titanium carbide are also thermodynamically unstable in molten aluminium. Gabryel and McLeod 59 have recently con~idered the reactivity of Al203 in AI. It should also be . 1. 58) at different temaluminium carbide Fig. 7. it is the kine~ics and the extent of reaction which are of practical importance. are expected to be stable.noted t?a~. 39 No. It is the molten metal processmg routes that are particularly prone to reaction.00 920 940 960 980 1000 1020 1040 1060 1080 1100 1120 7 TEMPERATURE.9 9 tf) 0. so ceramic carbides are stable in pure magnesium.

~) + Cp Wp • • • • • • • (12) where Cm = specific heat of matrix Cp = specific heat of particle ~ = weight fraction of particle. 39 No. and solidification factors. Another approach is to oxidise the surface of the SiC. So the test involves both rheological factors. is the most convenient approach for those SiC reinforced composites involved in molten metal processing. Lis given by63 . and hence on casting fluidity. The latent heat involved in solidification will be reduced because the particles are not involved in the solidification process..l'v'" However. Interface reaction can have several undesirable effects. Ps. keeping the magnesium content of the alloy as low as possible. Casting fluidity is usually assessed by a test. it is the effect that reaction has on the viscosity of the melt. since there is still an interface reaction product.4 U Z 00. .6 0:: t- ~ 0. commensurate with achieving the desired strength. rather than dissolving the SiC. In this case the early stages of the reaction involve reducing the SiOz. . (9) where C = heat capacity d = diameter of channel h = heat transfer coefficient H = latent heat Ps = density of solid.. . The results demonstrate the importance of minimising the processing temperature. is given by w = 0·03 + (wo .0 +I Q t<{ • 1073K 0. which measures the distance the melt will flow before solidification occurs. .a) = C . Al4 C3 dissolves in water. and in the case of the spinel reaction. (10) where Pm = density of matrix Pp = density of particle J!. min 300 Experimental results for variation in Mg concentration in solution after different reaction times compared with predictions of kinetic model (continuous lines) (after Ref. k a rate constant. Figure 10 shows that the model fits the data well within the temperature-time regimes where MgO does not form. such as latent heat. which. . that is particularly important. For composites several terms will be modified. but the interface reaction products may also modify the mechanical properties of the interface. . There is also some recent information Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 7 that using a mixed oxide. Mg04 is not expected to affect the corrosion behaviour directly." but no detailed kinetic data have been published. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. mullite.0'03) x exp{50[exp(-I03 OOO/RT)](to . taken to be equal to density of liquid Tm = melt temperature To = mould temperature I1T= melt superheat v = velocity of liquid. at a temperature T (K). . for those composites undergoing melt processing either in primary processing as in the melt mixing process. For fused Al. c. (7) where C is a constant. The kinetics of particle-matrix reaction can be influenced by several methods. fully dense condition greatly reduces reactivity. such as the spiral test.2 U CJ) 20. the distance a melt will flow along a channel before solidification. For an unreinforced metal. degrading the corrosion behaviour of the composite. forming an outer layer of SiOz. 59) the Mg concentration at time t. while restricting the choice of matrix alloy. such as viscosity.8 A 1023K e 1048 K ~ 1. the spinel reaction can be minimised by using a low Mg-content matrix alloy.4nkNorZt . and MgO and AlzMg04 for Mg-containing alloy. = volume fraction of particle. or in secondary processing such as shape casting. . in the crystallised. surface tension. the effective specific heat of the composite. . . and We the equilibrium Mg concentration. 03 they found that the weight per cent of magnesium remaining in solid solution after reacting for a time t (s). modifying the matrix composition. and the freezing range of the alloy. . being Alz 03 for pure aluminium.." For Al203 reinforcement.t)} (8) where the equilibrium concentration of magnesium Wo.1 . superheat.) + Pp J!. the effective latent heat. Al. cooling rate. . and r the particle radius.. . . The density. He' is given by He = H(I- Vp). is taken as 0·03 wt_%.?' This is a not very satisfactory approach. Matrix composition modifications can in principal be allowed for. will be replaced by the density of the composite. No the initial surface concentration of nucleation sites.Lloyd ~ $ • 948 K 0973 K 0998 K Z"0. reducing the age hardening response. . but will modify matrix composition. and its formation involves release of Si. is given by Ce = Cm(1 . . Pc Pc = Pm(1- J!. and magnesium is lost from the matrix. .?" they obtain In(I .0 10 o 50 250 100 150 200 TIME. The reaction product will depend on the matrix alloy. and applying Mampel's model for deceleratory nucleation caused by overlapping nucleations. • • • • • • • • • • (11) Similarly. Undesirable Al4 C3 can be a voided by appropriate choice of the silicon content of the alloy.

from the stoichiometry of the SiC reaction to Al4 C3. the amount of aluminium carbide increases rapidly with time resulting in a marked decrease in fluidity until. where the spiral fluidities after different holding times at 750 and 800°C are shown. <9 40Z --J « a: a:: x + o E sau --J . and this will reduce the melt velocity. 4. In addition. This effect is demonstrated in Fig... 5. but a few general statements can be made: 1.. = • :r: t- • W W --J « a:: 30- (a) 50 I I I 100 150 200 250 a 300 a 750°C. v. = viscosity of composite nm = viscosity of unreinforced . increase to infinity. but it is expected to be of the right order at very high shear rates. For 750°C the spiral fluidity remains about constant with holding time. I . In terms of equation (13). interface reaction will often result in an increase in the volume fraction of solid in the melt. The viscosity increases with increasing volume fraction of particle. However. 3. The viscosity increases with increasing reaction product at the interface. 67 It is apparent that reinforcement reactivity can influence the behaviour of the composite from a wide range of viewpoints. effectively raising the solid fraction of the melt.66 the viscosity may be dependen t on particle surface area.-%Sie after different Substituting the appropriate values for the composite into equation (9) will result in a decrease in the expected fluidity length with increasing particle content. The viscosity increases with decreasing particle size. The viscosity is dependent on the history of the melt.!" The nonNewtonian and thixotropic nature of composite melts indicate that the composite melts have a structure associated with them. At low shear rates. rheological factors dominate the casting fluidity under these circumstances.• . . the composite will not flow into the mould. However at 800°C. + a: 20- (/) 11 • --J 30- 0 . 70 A 60- I + I • • t <9 40Z A • t- Eu 50- . If extensive reaction occurs the viscosity can. 1 g of SiC reacted to Al4 C3 will result in a particle volume increase of 60%. presumably reflecting particle clustering in the melt. in effect. The non-Newtonian behaviour of molten composites makes comparison with equation (13) difficult.1 (b) I 50 HOLDING TIME.As a result. 3·2 g ern . as pointed out by Surappa and Rohatgi.3). the viscosity increases with increasing particle level. it greatly underestimates the viscosity. after 250 min.8 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 70 ~------------. of more importance is the melt velocity term. time.. As seen from Fig. (13) matrix.• 60- 100 1 .i" who found that they are also thixotropic. the viscosity is given by64 nm(1 + 2'5Vp + 10'05V~) where n. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. As noted previously. in terms of temperature. However. min = • 10- I • i 20- (/) 10- n. and the melt will not flow into the mould at all. 200 250 HOLDING TIME. when Newtonian behaviour is approached. 4. and shear rate. The viscosity is non-Newtonian. decreasing with increasing shear rate. the rheological behaviour of composite melts is poorly understood. because the extent of aluminium carbide formation is limited at this temperature in a 7 wt-%Si alloy. Particle clusters could occlude liquid within the clusters. 39 No. min 150 300 holding times at different temperatures 2. and the lower density of Al4 C3 to SiC (2'36 cf. or when reaction occurs between the reinforcement and the melt. and this will increase with interface reaction because the reaction products tend to be in the form of fine crystals. particles can modify other aspects of the matrix microstructure. under the applied metallostatic head. b 800°C Spiral fluidities of A356-15 vol. 11. and needs to be considered both in terms of composite processing and composite use. For example. The most extensive rheological study of unreacted composites has been carried out by Moon. For non-metallic liquids containing spherical particles. and this depends on the processing and fabrication routes involved.•. Microstructures The most important aspect of the microstructure is the distribution of the reinforcing particles.

Distribution in the liquid as a result of the mixing."? Particles of different size and shape will settle at different rates producing agglomeration. the settling will be hindered 71 Jt:: = Vo(l. < 0·2 =(4·35+ 17·5d/D)R. the reinforcing particles will agglomerate in the intersticies of the coarse particles. The third factor which influences reinforcement distribution is the solidification process itself. and there are several recent reviews. 70) In composites processed by molten metal mixing methods. 2. 39 No.03 for 0·2<Re< R. can homogenise the structure to some extent. Initial approaches have used the Dirichlet tesselation method. 77 Grain structure Wrought alloy composites are solution treated and aged after fabrication." Because this does not generally occur. In these commercial systems the experiments indicate that. but recently some authors have begun to develop methods for addressing it. such as extrusion or rolling. and recrystallisation will usually occur during this heat treatment. as well as the relative size of the matrix and reinforcing particles.1 . while in reality it is dendritic solidification of multiphase systems which is relevant. Redistribution as a result of solidification. and be very inhomogeneously distributed in the final product. 22. After mixing and before solidification. 75 The entrapment models are Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites a slow solidification rate investment rate pressure die casting 12 casting. (14) I The settling rate will be a function of the particle density and size. 76. whenever particles are captured by a solid/liquid interface. = Reynolds number Jt:: = particle velocity Vo = Stokes velocity. 56 though solidification nucleation may occur in some hypereutectic systems. Particle entrapment or rejection has been extensively studied.P If solidification nucleation does not occur the reinforcing particles are rejected at the solid/liquid interface.13. but minimising reinforcement inhomogeneity during initial processing is important for achieving optimum properties. At present.t" an AI/SiC particle size ratio of 0·7: 1 gave a more uniform distribution than a 0·24: 1 ratio. quantification of particle inhomogeneity remains a problem. since any gas bubbles will be lined with reinforcing particles. Any secondary processing will also tend to homogenise the particle distribution. considering the variable shape and size of reinforcing particles. the particles act as heterogeneous nuclei for the solids. and there is also the possibility that particle shape will playa role. If the matrix powder is large relative to the reinforcement. as seen from the previous extrusion microstructures. Influence of solidification particle distribution 9 b high solidification conditions on generally applicable to planar front solidification of single phase systems. as shown in Fig.P With the relatively high volume fraction of particles and a range of particle size. the particles will segregate due to gravity.C)P where C = particle concentration d = particle diameter D = container diameter p = 4·65 + 19·5d/D for R. the reinforcement distribution will depend on the blending and consolidation procedures. and segregate to the interdendritic regions which solidify last. 12. The distribution during mixing will obviously depend on the mixing process used.?" (It should be noted that quantitative determination of particle inhomogeneity and clustering. and it is essential to produce as uniform a distribution as possible without any gas entrapment. Secondary fabrication processing. Reinforcing particles do not generally nucleate the primary solidifying phase. Figure 13 shows how the tensile elongation increases in (AI-Si) A356/SiC/15p with increasing degrees of extrusion. With the blending and consolidation route used in one study. the situation is somewhat more complicated because the reinforcement distribution is influenced 'by several factors: 1. 69.Lloyd Reinforcement distribution In powder processed material. 3. Distribution in the liquid after mixing but before solidification. 74. Since particles of diameter larger than about 1 urn will develop an associated deformation zone sufficient to generate International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol.0. the particle distribution is influenced by the solidification rate. . is not a trivial task.

)/t. which are comparable with those of superplastic unreinforced alloys.. T4 condition recrystallised nuclei.1 in mechanically alloyed composites. 39 strain rate sensitivity m in the strain rate equation = kern.84 and mechanically alloyed IN9021/SiC/15p.. but in reinforced wrought Mg alloys grain size strengthening could be very significant. which are susceptible to dislocation nucleation.I" (J No. giving a limiting grain size of 2d/3 t.15 urn. about I x 10-4 to 5 X 10-3 S-1." the reinforcing particles should produce a high density of nuclei. because the Hall. and m-values in the range 0'4-0'6.5 em DIA. together with a fine grain size is likely to reduce the vacancy concentration by providing a high vacancy sink density. These results show that equation (15) is appropriate for predicting both the recrystallised and limiting grain size. or unaffected by the reinforcement.--J e • 4 b.1 and 515°C.Petch slope.2 S.. The grain size of the recrystallised composite can be estimated by assuming that each reinforcing particle of diameter d acts as a nucleus for a spherical grain D.-%Sie... An interesting feature of superplasticity in MMCs is that the high m-values are often obtained at high strain rates. Recrystallisation studies on Duralcan (AI-Cu) 2014/AI203/20p demonstrated that the Al203 particles stimulate the nucleation. and decreasing the recrystallisation temperature. accelerating recrystallisation. whereas most commercial composites have t. and particles increase the extent of cavitation by limiting grain boundary sliding and providing stress concentrations at the interface./d less than this value.2 S -1 (Ref. BILLET T4-19. where the grain size was much finer than expected because of multiple nucleation occurring at each particle.89. if the particles are very closely spaced.Petch relationship. BILLET T4-PM CAST TENSILE b. and the limited grain growth gives D = 33 urn. The yield strength is dependent on grain size through the Hall.J 1/3 (15) Any subsequent grain growth will be limited by the Zener pinning of the particles on the grain boundaries.82 and (AI-Cu) 2124/Si3N4/20p. MMCs are potentially superplastic materials. in MMCs the largest mvalues. In material processed by powder metallurgy. and this is in agreement with the recent work on 2124/Si3N4/20p where the particles were less than I urn in size and elongations of 850% were obtained at a strain rate of 4 x 10 . and after holding the composite for 150 h at 500°C the grains had only grown to 17 urn.94 The more rapid aging kinetics were initially attributed to easy precipitation nucleation on dislocations punched out from the reinforcement particle interface as a result of the coefficient of thermal expansion mismatch on quenching from the solution treatment temperature. where t. and the high volume fraction of reinforcing particles is very effective in stabilising the grain size.. as do the matrix/reinforcement interfaces.. 79 Since the reinforcing particles are very effective in nucleating new grains. and the finer grain size present in composites could contribute considerably to the strength. an enhancement of the aging kinetics has been observed. but it can be reduced by using a superimposed hydrostatic presure.1 Aging effects Another aspect of the microstructure which may be modified in composites is that of precipitation.81 6061/Si3N4/20p. there are also fine oxide particles in the matrix which are known from work on SAP-type alloys to influence the aging kinetics. Tensile elongations of 300-8300/0 have been obtained in powder processed PM-64/SiC/20p.85 A high International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol.83 spray processed 2014/SiCj15p and 7475/SiC/15p./ d > 0·1 urn. In conventional superplastic alloys the highest m-value. and grain sizes of 10 urn and less will be required to influence the strength significantly." In all cases the elongation is limited by cavitation. However. which is given by 79 D = d[(1 - t. Aluminium alloys have a low Hall.10 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 15 14 • • 13 12 ~11 z'10 e 0 9 ~ 8 W 5 (9 7 Z 6 0 . 3 2 T4-5." but there are many other factors which may influence aging."! Using as fine a reinforcement as possible should also help to decrease cavitation. However. in as extruded material. is the volume fraction of particles and d the particle diameter. 82) and even as high as 10 and 100 s . For 20 vol-" of 10 urn particles equation (15) gives D = '" 15 urn. were obtained. is usually obtained at low strain rate." The presence of fine oxide particles. and greatest elongations are obtained at greater than 10. some of the studies demonstrate that at low temperatures the aging kinetics are slowed down. the subgrain growth necessary for recrystallisation nucleation is impeded and recrystallisation may not occur.7 em DIA. In powder processed composites reasonable agreement was obtained with the theory except for very coarse particles (D = 40 urn). Many studies of the age hardening response of metal matrix composites have been reported87-93 and. and stabilising the resulting fine grain size. Vacancies may also be swept up by moving dislocations associated .Petch slope is large. is required for superplasticity. in general.P'' The resulting equiaxed grain size was ". However.91.P") The extent of cavitation increases with increasing volume fraction of reinforcement. Enhanced precipitation in the neighbourhood of reinforcement particles undoubtedly occurs for precipitates. 1 0 10 EXTRUSION 13 100 1000 RATIO Variation in tensile elongation with extrusion ratio in A356-15 vol. Recrystallisation is impeded when t. such as 0' and S'. and optimum superplastic behaviour. (There is also the possibility of pre-existing cavities at the interface.

it should also be appreciated that in spite of any modification of agi./ /. 99 From all these considerations it is clear that the aging response will depend on a range of factors including t~e particular matrix. However. = VpEp + VmEm ~here s. The quantitative value of the elastic modulus is somewhat dependent on the method of measurement. .?" At higher aging temperatures.93.91.----------------. the Halpin. In the case of SiC and Al203 particle reinforced AI..Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 11 130. and p~rtIcle. As seen from the figure. Mechanical properties Elastic modulus The on~ mechanical property which is always significantly Increased by the addition of reinforcement is the elastic modulus.94 Solute segregation associated with interfaces may also be present . consistent with many of the differential scanning calorimetry studies. Lewandowski) Rule of Mixtures Equivalent Inclusion Tsai-Halpin Equation 50 +------. the processing history: and the agmg temperature. 0/0 with the plastic relaxation of misfit stresses generated . The situation is further complicated by inhomogeneity in the reinforcement distribution which can also result in local plasticity.0 80 V> « Ljj 70 .. and 7000 alloys). and the total strain will consist of both elastic and plastic components.5h ~ /.Tsai equation gives a good representation of the results. 120 (\J IE zllO o ~ 100 -. J. The higher dislocation density in composites could also increase the solute diffusivity.. Em' s. considerably overestimates the elastic modulus. . but work on SiC reinforced Mg-6Zn indicated comparable aging behaviour to that of unreinforced material.J ::J o o 2 u ~ s = 1. particularly for melt processed composites.) l-qJt. are ~he elastic (16) moduli of the composite.. The rule of mixtures expression is most appropriate for continuous reinforcement and it has been modified for discontinuous reinforcement in the Halpin.. plastic flow occurs earlier in tension than in compression. The rule of mixtures expression e. 6000. . the peak aged propertres are usually obtained within the normal commercial aging practice for unreinforced alloys./ kinetics in the composites. and enhanced diffusivity of Mg atoms has been suggested as the reason for the higher growth rate of {3' precipitates in 6061-A12 03 composites.1) q = (Ep/Em) + 2s . Static values may also depend on whether the measurements are made in tension or compression. Comparison with theoretical expectations is also somewhat difficult due to uncertainty in the appropriate value for the modulus of the particle reinforcement./ 90 /. 14. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. / /..----- 60 14 Precipitation at SiC interface in (AI-Zn-Mg) 7091 alloy (courtesy of J. . (18) and s is the particle aspect ratio. (17) where (Ep/Em .1 .. . matrix. .l''? Most of these difficulties 15 Variation of elastic modulus with volume fraction of SiC particles: 5 is particle aspect ratio result from the presence of thermal residual stresses caused by differences in the coefficient of thermal expansion between the matrix and the ceramic the composite.---~---1 o 5 10 15 20 25 VOLUME. 91 Ch anges In tration will particularly affect G P zone formation and the low temperature aging response. respectively? and Vm and ~ the ~olume fractions of the matrix and particle.r-----r----. with dynamic measuring methods tending to give larger values than static measurements obtained from the elastic portion of the tensile stress-strain curve. S = 1. 39 No. This means that when the composite is loaded. Figure 15 shows the increase in Young's modulus with volume fraction of reinforcement for a variety of AI-SiC composites (these values were taken from the commercial literature for wrought 2000.90. the vacancy concenon quenc himg. or longer times. the matrix is in tension.."? and the solute distribution may also be affected by any residual stresses present in the matrix. precipitation may occur at the particle interface in some alloys.Tsai equation 101 E = e Em(J + 2sqJt.. There is very little information in the literature on the aging kinetics of Mg matrix composites. An example of this in a 7091 alloy matrix is shown in Fig.

such as the very high work hardening at low strains.77. such as grain size and dislocation density. The dominant factor in controlling the elastic modulus is the volume fraction of reinforcement.-----. At typical volume fractions. and the behaviour has also been extensively modelled mathematically.250 (/) (/) • • 100 l- (/) 150 • W ~ 200 I I 300 400 50 O-+---+----+--+---l'-+---+----+--+---l'-+---+----+--+--lf---l 0. and the matrix alloy temper. Strength The first extensive study of the strength of discontinuously reinforced Al alloys was carried out by Mcfranels. the strength of particle reinforced composites is most strongly dependent on the volume fraction of reinforcement with a somewhat weaker dependence on particle size.12 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 400. whereas in melt processed MMCs the grain size more closely approaches unreinforced alloys. but Nardone and Prewo '?" have suggested that better agreement is obtained if the equation is modified to allow for end loading effects. 16. When considering the yield stress there is a more fundamental difficulty. He reported up to a 60% increase in yield and ultimate tensile strengths. gives the composite strength as109 . The improvement in Young's modulus is retained at higher temperatures. Orowan strengthening is not a major factor with the 5 urn and larger particles usually used. However. Work hardening. In powder processed composites. the possible strengthening mechanisms are: 1.l'" and this approach is also in good agreement with the data.l'" who investigated SiC whisker and particle reinforcement in several different alloy matrices.------------------------. 39 No. due to the strain misfit between the elastic reinforcing particles and the plastic matrix.. 100 C\I IE Z 90- o (/)' :3 80- • A356 • A356/SiC120p •• 0 •• 2: 70(/) • ~ 360- • Z. depending on the volume fraction of reinforcement.111-113 From these considerations.02 0.10 0. equation (19) underestimates the strength.104-108 The continuum shear lag models for International Materials Reviews 1994 100 : I- •• • • • • • • -t----. 2.14 TRUE STRAIN I 500 600 TEMPERATURE. Subsequent work has generally confirmed these findings.2% proof stress. but the reported experimental results show an extremely large degree of scatter. where results for unreinforced matrix and composite are shown up to 500°C. which are in the 1-5: 1 range. the grain size can be extremely small and significantly contribute to the strength.oC 16 Temperature dependence of elastic modulus in A356 and A356/SiC/20p The elastic modulus can also be calculated using the Eshelby equivalent inclusion method. and s the aspect ratio.. The strengthening mechanisms which may operate in particle reinforced MMCs have been considered in several recent publications. and Table 2 lists the properties of some of the composites now available from different producers.00 0.------. .1 17 Stress-strain curves for extruded A356 and A356/SiC/15p with different particle sizes and tempers reinforcement with an aspect ratio below that necessary for full reinforcement loading. and since composites work harden extremely rapidly at low strains.l'" The yield strength is usually quoted as the 0.04 0. The extent to which the different mechanisms operate will depend on the microstructure and processing of the particular composite. lOS Normal matrix strengthening due to solution and precipitation hardening will give additional strength to the composite. composites are now commercially available which will meet a strength specification.08 0. 4. (19) where (J m is the yield stress of the matrix. presumably reflecting the quality of the material and differences in processing.06 0. this may not be equivalent to a conventional yield stress. Quench hardening resulting from the dislocations generated to accommodate the difference in coefficient of thermal expansion between the reinforcing particles and the matrix. and it is relatively insensitive to the particle distribution. as pointed out by Humphreys. and modifications in microstructure. The higher elastic modulus at temperature is important for higher temperature applications. The temperature dependence of the composite elastic modulus reflects that of the unreinforced matrix. For comparison some typical properties of unreinforced alloys are given in Table 3. In the micromechanics approach.----.II'I---j I I o W200 0:: • 0 >50 350 IE 300 z •• • • ::::> 0 C\I Vol. 3. Orowan strengthening. but particles of this size can result in quench hardening and enhanced work hardening because of elastic misfit back stress hardening. For the aspect ratio typically used in particle MMCs. Grain and substructure strengthening. The difficulty with this continuum approach is that it ignores the influence of particles on the micromechanics of deformation. while variations in the type and shape of the reinforcement can be accounted for by the different expressions.12 0. as shown in Fig. the type of alloy.----.

t MN m-2 UTS.Lloyd Table 2 Typical properties of some commercially Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 13 available metal matrix composites Elastic Composite* YS. Martin 0·6 82 91 98 95 114 Duralcan.l!" International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. After strains of about 3 % the stress-strain curves of the composite and unreinforced alloy are essentially parallel.* MN m-2 UTS. and also increases with decreasing Table 3 Alloy Typical unreinforced YS. for two SiC particles sizes and two tempers.1 .. reflect differences in the elastic-plastic transition between composites and unreinforced material. Duralcan. Alcan 101 100 98 100 Duralcan. 39 No.114 Particle shape. 570 485 280 320 198 311 alloy properties Elongation. ~I British 0·3 0·4 1·0 0·4 fraction Alcan Alcan Alcan Alcan Alcan Dow Dow Dow of particles. Alcan Cospray. BP~ 2124/SiC/20p AI-Zn-Mg (T4) 405 560 7 105 7075/SiC/15p 7049/SiC/15p (T651) (T6) 601 643 (T6) 735 3 2 2 95 90 105 Cospray. which is greater than the shear modulus of the matrix. Alcan Duralcan. Alcan 7·0 5·0 98 105 DWAt DWAt 4·0 115 DWAt 84 92 Duralcan. Alcan Duralcan. MN m-2 Wrought AI-M92Si 6061 /AI203/1 Op (T6) 6061/AI203/15p (T6) 6061/AI203/20p (T6) 6061/AI203/20p (T6) 6061 /SiC/15p (T6) 6061 /SiC/15p (T4) 6061/SiC/20p (T4) 296 317 359 305 342 405 420 338 359 379 % Duralcan. Chatsworth. Alcan Cospray. GN m-2 69 73 72 74 72 80 76 72 38 49 SiC particle size. 17 that the work hardening rate increases with a decrease in particle size from 16 urn (400 grit) to 7·8 urn (800 grit). all materials being extruded bar. Figure 17 shows the stress-strain curves for A356 and A356/SiC/15p. % 20 13 12 9 10 7 6 3·5 3·0 21 Elastic modulus. Alcan 103 103 BP~ BP~ 2·0 105 XD™. MN m-2 310 524 470 470 6061 2014 2124 2618 (T6) (T6) (T6) (T6) 275 476 7075 8090 A356 A380 (T6) (T6) (T6) (F) 505 415 205 AZ61 AZ91 47·5 54 80 2 1 2·5 Marietta 325 370 160 157 168 * 0·2% offset yield strength. so all the strengthening is associated with the first few percent strain. in terms of aspect ratio. Duralcan. but for the typical aspect ratio range of up to 2: 1 it is not expected to be a major factor. to some extent. Alcan Duralcan. Alcan Cospray. CA. The apparent work hardening rate at low strains is higher in the composites. coefficient of thermal expansion and back stress strengthening. Alcan Comral 85. Alcan Cospray. This is not too surprising. Comalco Cospray. will influence composite strength. t Composite Specialities lnc. It is also apparent from Fig. Alcan 630 3·3 2·3 1·0 2·0 3·0 5-7 2-4 116 BP~ DWAt 517 503 503 493 532 610 483 466 460 400 490 Supplier 81 87 98 85 91 460 500 515 483 476 modulus. Petroleum. At a 0'2% offset strain the composite work hardening rate in the T4 condition is around 50 GN m -2. considering the presence of a relatively inhomogeneous distribution of elastic particles. GN m-2 7·5 5·4 2·1 3·4 3·2 330 364 430 6061/SiC/25p (T4) AI-Cu 2014/AI203/10p (T6) 2014/AI203/15p (T6) 2014/ AI2 03 /20p (T6) 2014/SiC/15p (T6) 2618/SiC/12p (T6) 2124/SiC/17·8p (T4) 2124/SiC/25p (T4) Elongation. the higher initial work hardening rate may. Therefore. This is consistent with current models for. DWAt Cast AI-Cu 201/TiC/20p AI-Si (T7) 420 356/SiC/10p 356/SiC/1 5p 356/SiC/20p 380/SiC/10p 380/SiC/20p Mg-AI-Zn (T61) (T61 ) (T61) (F) (F) 287 329 AZ91/SiC/9·4p AZ91 /SiC/15·1 AZ61/SiC/20p p 336 245 308 308 336 357 332 356 191 208 260 236 236 328 * Composite designation: matrix/reinforcement/volume t 0·2% offset yield stress. Duralcan. Alcan 7090/SiC/20p AI-Li 556 598 665 8090/SiC/13p 8090/SiC/13p 8090/SiC/17p 8090/SiC/17p (T4) (T6) (T4) (T6) 455 499 310 450 520 547 460 540 4 3 4-7 3-4 101 101 Cospray. Duralcan.112.

_%SiC. and Fig. which is essentially 336·0 alloy (AI-Si) containing 60 vol. the presence of thermal residual stresses. 18.e.12 (/) (/) ~ 30 ~ ~1O 0:: ~ 8 (/) . While dislocation density and elastic misfit strengthening models are in agreement with the general trends of the strengthening results. and this is shown for powder processed composites in Fig.J 6 W 4 >= o 10 15 20 25. they are not sufficiently detailed to account for particle size and distribution variations. and this would be expected from two points of view. This effect will also occur in composites. The reason for this is that the strengthening mechanisms operating in composites at lower temperatures are relaxed at higher temperatures. result in the early onset of plasticity and no strengthening at very low strains. A final aspect of strength..llS-12o Particle fracture is more prevalent in coarser particles. If the interfacial bond is weak the interface will fail before any effective stress transfer to the particle can occur.1l6 The high temperature strength advantage of the composite is very significant. and it means that the strengthening observed is alloy and heat treatment dependent. and the composite International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. as seen from Table 2. Primex ™ pressureless metal infiltration technology allows high volume fractions to be obtained in near net shapes. 19.606l1SiClfT6 (/) --+. 010 18 o Variation in yield stress with volume fraction of reinforcement for powder processed composites The predominant strengthening factor is the volume fraction of reinforcement.--------------------.u. appear to be ·weaker than the unreinforced matrix because of the reduced effective area supporting the load.. is dependent on achieving a strong interfacial bond between the matrix and the reinforcement. and this is essentially independent of temperature other than the temperature dependence of the modulus.. This. Drucker'?' noted that matrix deformation between .. While the presence of particles improves the modulus at higher temperatures (Fig. This figure compares the strength at temperature of unreinforced A356 with A356/SiC/15p after a 100 h soak at temperature. 20 shows the temperature dependence of Lanxide NX™.. Fig. improved high temperature strengths can be achieved. The composite may. The tensile elongation decreases rapidly with the addition of reinforcing particles.J A356 A3561l5SiC L (/) o --- C\I 20 . in fact. Recent work has demonstrated that composite failure is associated with particle cracking and void formation in the matrix within clusters of particles. The ability to achieve any strengthening in a composite . but there is. 20. in turn. 16) they do not add significantly to the high temperature strength.2124/SiCfT4 W >=10 a . a small improvement in strength over the unreinforced alloy is retained at higher temperatures. is the behaviour at elevated temperatures. as shown in Fig.14 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 601lJ-r---------------------. The Lanxide Corp.68.. and the work hardening rate decreases very rapidly with strain. and how the different microstructural factors interact. Note that the strength increase appears to be reduced at the very high volume fractions of reinforcement. As noted previously in the discussion of elastic modulus. Age hardened alloys tend to be more susceptible to strain localisation.. Powder processed material tends to give somewhat higher strengths than melt processed composites. 21. being lowest in peak aged material. i. the coarser ceramic particles will have a higher probability of containing fracture initiating defects. DC 19 Variation in yield strength with temperature after 100 h at temperature for A356 and A356/SiC/15p strength is primarily controlled by the higher temperature strength of the matrix. of course. 30 35 VOLUME FRACTION. and inhomogeneity of reinforcement distribution. Elongation The major limitation in the mechanical properties of composites is the rather limited ductility.. close to the proportional limit of the stress-strain curve. However.. which is of commercial importance.6061/SiCfT4 ----&.. and the somewhat finer grain size. probably because of additional strengthening from oxide dispersoids. The larger the particle the more it will be loaded by conventional fibre loading and end loading mechanisms. By going to a high volume fraction of particles the Orowan strengthening component becomes depend ent on the ability to transfer stress from the matrix to the stronger reinforcing particles.. and the decrease in composite strength with temperature follows that of the matrix. Failure associated with particle clusters can be attributed to the higher stress triaxiality generated in these regions. In addition. C\I 18 IE 50 z 2 40 IE 16 z 14 . By using powder processing of rapidly solidified powders. and it also decreases with increased aging time in the heat treatable alloys. The composite has about a 10 MN m -2 higher strength than the matrix at 300°C. 39 No.i i s Another alternative is to use a very high volume fraction of reinforcement in a normally solidified matrix. and no strengthening is achieved. a sacrifice in ductility. This probably reflects mixing difficulties in obtaining a uniform particle distribution at high volume fractions. The extent of strengthening is also dependent on the matrix alloy microstructure.1 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 TEST TEMPERATURE.

120. so a high degree of particle fracture is indicative of a high interfacial strength. with the high volume fraction of particles in composite. but the International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. model the critical stress is independent of particle size. However.. In unreinforced material.122Since ductile failure mechanisms by void nucleation and coalescence are very sensitive to the triaxial stress level. extensive void growth does not occur.Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 15 20 25u. .J W 2 0 10 15 VOLUME 21 20 25 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 TEST TEMPERATURE. and also through the particle size dependence for particle cracking. For coarser particles there is a higher probability of their containing a defect of length C sufficient to give particle fracture. etc.Void nucleation will therefore be a function of the matrix flow stress. resulting in local stress levels many times the matrix flow stress. particularly when cracking is occurring in finer particles.. it is often suggested that this is the dominant failure process. which will be influenced by the volume fraction of particles.60611A~03 /rs ~1 6 12 ~1 ~ 8 0 .-%SiC of 336 closely spaced elastic particles would be highly constrained. y the fracture surface energy. consistent with the limited void growth seen experimentally. equation (20). and k the matrix shear flow stress.1 . (22) where Jtf is the volume fraction of nucleated voids. (J'rnthe mean stress. (J'e.119. ~ 20 -. this expression predicts that a void volume fraction greater than 0·055 would result in spontaneous fracture without extensive void growth. 010 Variation in tensile elongation of 6061 with volume fraction of reinforcement 22 350 °C Influence of testing temperature on tensile elongation for extruded A356/SiC/15p with 400 and 800 grit sizes nucleation. If the mean stress. voids grow after being nucleated until they are of a sufficient size to coalesce. E the Young's modulus of the particle. . The critical stress for interfacial void 124 2 18 -+- 6061/Sicrr6 -+. 30 35 40 FRACTION.106. resulting in final fracture.. . However. It is worth noting that the particles are being loaded through the particle/ matrix interface. as demonstrated by a detectable decrease in modulus with increasing strain. Particle cracking by catastrophic propagation of an interal defect is given by the Griffith equation (Jf = (~cy)1/2 . . is the equivalent stress and (J'rnthe mean stress ((J'rn= (J'ii/3).- 336/60SiC 18 -. heat treatment.- ALLOY336 16 cf!. and C the internal crack given by . . In composites with typical particle volume fractions greater than 0'1.Jtf IJ + 0·6 1 = (J'rn 2 + 2k .J 6 w W 0::: l(/)5 0 B ~1O I- 0 D 4 2 o 100 200 300 400 500 0+----+--+---+--+--t---f--t--+---+--4--1 600 -200 -150 -100 -50 TEST TEMPERATURE. (21) where a.123fracture nucleation within particle clusters is expected. Figure 22 shows the variation in tensile elongation with test temperature for A356/SiC/15p with two grit sizes. particle fracture occurs from very early strains. <10 urn. . This behaviour has been confirmed by recent continuum modelling. .5Jlrn 0 14 [] D 612 I (!) z ~1O 8 8 0 .125It is also apparent. that very different particle fracture behaviour is not reflected in differences in the tensile elongation. The limit load failure model of Thomason 123 predicts the condition for spontaneous ductile fracture at the void nucleation strain as 0·3[(n/4 Jtf)1/2 1 .-------------------. 39 No. There is very little difference in the elongation between the two grit sizes.. but particle size effects would come into the picture if the particle distribution is a function of particle size. . Many models have been developed for void nucleation. in melt processed composites. A criterion for particle-matrix decohesion appropriate for coarse particles has been developed by Argon et al.'- (20) where (J'fis the stress on the particle.. the fracture process would be nucleation controlled. E z 215 o Iti um D 7. .oC 20 Temperature dependence of strength with and without 60 vol. Since particle fracture is readily observed in most failed composite. (J'rn= 2k. In the Argon et al.

.00 +-0----G~ _ _+___+___+-l____+__+___l:jl--_+__+__+-+___+__j 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 300 320 340 UTS. the particle distribution will also influence the composite ductility. Under conditions of small scale yielding et = co]» . assumed a uniform particle distribution.5Jlrn ~ 0. d the particle diameter. as shown in Fig. (25) where K1C is the critical stress intensity factor (i. 13.04 o o o ~ 0. The fracture toughness is also much less sensitive to the degree of aging than is the tensile elongation. E Young's modulus. . However. intrinsic local stress triaxiality is generated in the clustered regions which may dominate any far field stresses. discussed previously.08 ~ 0. fracture toughness). At temperatures above 250°C general cavitation becomes the predominant failure mechanism. x the distance ahead of the crack. and with grit sizes of 400 and 800 fraction of cracked particles is much larger in the coarser grit size.---------------------. Specifically. ~ 0.J U 0. A fine « 10 urn). 23. but to maximise ductility for. Composite fabrication and processing will influence. because local matrix failure appears ultimately to control the fracture.1/6 . A high interfacial strength is needed to minimise cracking along the interface and to load the particles effectively. when b = be and. and very little particle fracture occurs. and the mean stress in equations (21) and (22) is a far field stress. 2. should be avoided to minimise particle fracture. et = ef over a distance x = 10. The minimum in tensile elongation at 200°C is due to precipitation hardening occurring during the test.e. for small scale yielding be = CK2 / Eay • • • • • • • • (24) where K is the stress intensity factor. E Young's modulus. the microstructure of the matrix is also important. It is interesting to note that the minimum in tensile elongation is not reflected in a maximum in the extent of particle cracking. 39 No. ahead of the crack tip. They related the critical stress intensity factor for fracture to the volume fraction of reinforcement by the expression K1C = [2ayE(n/6)1/3d]1/2j. 10. With typical' toughness values in the 15-20 MN m -3/2 range. a y' the yield stress."? The importance of particle distribution is also demonstrated by the increase in tensile elongation with extrusion ratio. With the inhomogeneous distribution of particles in real composites. it is apparent that particle composites do provide a reasonable degree of fracture toughness.06 Z 0. and the stress state. A high interfacial strength. et.20. as shown in Fig. Obviously coarse particles. is exceeded over some microstructurally significant characteristic distance. and a quantitative understanding is lacking.126. ay the yield stress. The problem is then reduced to relating be to some microstructural feature in the composite. and C a numerical constant depending on the work hardening exponent n. In the continuum mechanics ·approach to fracture. and there are some data suggesting that coarser particles are beneficial.127 While the toughness mirrors to some extent the tensile elongation.10 50. compared with the major influence in unreinforced alloys. fracture will occur when the crack tip strain. Control of particle shape . uniform particle size distribution.. At fracture initiation. which demonstrates the importance of the matrix in composite fracture. the composite should have: 1. 5. In addition. MN m-2 E 23 Fraction of cracked particles in A356/SiC/15p composites fractured at different temperatures.18 F= o o o lti urn 7.16 ~ Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 4. 3.6. with only a slight decrease for higher reinforcement loadings. and make it difficult to compare the models with experiment. 0. Uniform particle distribution.. a prediction which is not generally valid in unreinforced . The fracture models. . Recent work on notched tensile bars shows that the extent of far field triaxiality has only a small influence on the tensile elongation in composites. One suggestion is that be scales with some average interparticle spacing. . It is also apparent that different composites may be dominated by different fracture processes. the fracture toughness of a' material is normally assessed in terms of some crack tip parameter at the initiation of crack growth. decreasing with increasing reinforcement. but for 2000 series alloys reinforced with Al203 particles the agreement is poor. Considering all these different factors it is clear that the fracture process in particle composites is quite complex. . and c a constant of the order of 1. and fp the volume fraction of particles.02 DOD n •. whether reinforcing particles or intermetallics. (23) where b is the crack tip opening displacement. . the degree of flexibility available to meet these requirements.1 Fracture toughness The fracture toughness of particle reinforced composites has been reviewed in two recent publications. especially for particle sizes typical of most commercial composites.12 ~ ~ 0. Hahn and Rosenfield 128assumed that crack extension occurs when the extent of the heavily deformed region ahead of the crack tip is comparable with the width of the unbroken ligaments separating cracked particles. 0.. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol..14 o o o W 0. A problem with this model is that it predicts an increase in toughness with increasing strength. a particular volume fraction. typically '" 0'5-0. the decrease is most significant from zero to 100/0 reinforcement.16 n. A ductile matrix.

It is difficult to take account of reinforcement inhomogeneity. the fracture process is not sufficiently understood for this to be done at present. equation (27) requires an expression for the critical strain for void nucleation in terms of matrix strength. particle size. the volume fraction of void nucleating particles. % Kexp. 11 7 In general. and also continued to decrease even in the overaged condition where the strength was decreasing. with the local fracture strain being inferred from tensile data. and a decline above 220°C. Notice that in equation (27) the decrease in ductility' with increasing yield stress will counter the predicted increase in toughness with increasing stress. In this case control of particle volume fraction and distribution will be important for optimum fracture toughness. and the particle-matrix interfacial strength. but in 2009/SiC/20p there is a small increase between 25 and 200°C. For fracture which is nucleation controlled the fracture toughness is given by K1C = 2·58(pG'yEBe)1/2 Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites Bf. particle size distribution. (27) where p is the crack tip radius. the extent of agreement does suggest that models based on nucleation controlled fracture may be appropriate for particle composites. Finally. it should be noted that obtaining valid plane strain fracture toughness values for composites can be a problem and many of the results in the Be ~ Table 4 . 160°C 48 h. There is not much information on the influence of temperature on fracture toughness. In Al203 reinforced 6061 and 2014 alloys Klimowicz and Vecchio V? found that the fracture toughness decreased with aging time. 160°C 16 h. and Be the microvoid nucleation strain. .-oiO SiC particles of 13 urn average diameter. 160°C 40 h. 17rC 25 h.P! Some studies in composites have reported an increase in toughness with increasing particle size. The limit load approach of Thomason correctly predicts the general trend with aging time. However. which is dependent on the mean normal stress. unlike the situation in the Hahn. with a 10 urn particle size.136 A micromechanical model based on a critical strain concept was used to predict the temperature dependence. However. and stress state before the fracture toughness can be related to the microstructural features of the composite. may be a reasonable assumption. 160°C AI-Mg2Si 6061/AI203/15p 1 h. and any residual stresses present in the composite. The Krafft model is a limit load failure model which has been further developed by Thomason 123. and hence increasing strength. particularly for the 2014 matrix composite. E Young's modulus. As expected the Hahn and Rosenfield equation predicts an increase in fracture toughness with increased aging which is contrary to experiment.1 . G'y the yield stress. distribution. 17rC 100 h. 17rC 10 h. (26) where E is Young's modulus. and the crack radius was taken as 50 urn.135 to represent the strain distribution at the crack tip more accurately. and A the process zone size. 17rC 3 h. the fracture strain. n the work hardening exponent.Lloyd alloys. which is comparable with the spacing between particle clusters in the composite in ves tiga ted. Table 4 compares the fracture toughness predictions of equations (25) and (27) with the experimental results of Klimowicz and Vecchio 129 for 6061/ A1203/15p and (AI-Cu) 2014/AI203/15p. the fracture toughness does not show a strong dependence on reinforcement particle size. but tends to underestimate the fracture toughness. However. and suggested a 'brittle' variant of the model by replacing the strain hardening exponent with the fracture strain of the composite.Rosenfield model. This model gives the expression K1C = En(2nA)1/2 . It is apparent from this discussion that the present models of fracture toughness need extensive development to explain the toughness of MMCs. However. . MN m-2 Composite Thomason AI-Cu Elongation. This approach gives A 'in the range 10-100 urn. 177°C International 2 equation Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. Topur134 has compared equation (26) with fracture toughness data from Al203 reinforced 2014 (AI-Cu) and obtained a process zone size A ~ I urn. which is also not in agreement with some experiments on unreinforced alloys. 177°C 331 441 469 420 372 6 2 1 1 221 317 345 331 276 7 24·7 5 3 3 4 23·2 22·7 21·5 21·2 21·5 21·8 17·6 17·2 18·0 331 6 24·2 31·1 221 7 24·7 24·8 Hahn and Rosenfield AI-Cu 2014/AI203/15p 3 h. Recently. 39 No. 126.132 while other studies report no affect of particle size. As noted previously. The equation also predicts an increase in fracture toughness with increasing particle size. MN m-3/2 MN m-3/2 24·2 21·7 19·5 25·4 12·0 12·4 19·0 18·1 11·7 15·6 ~h' equation 2014/AI203/15p 3 h. . 160°C 7 h. 160°C AI-M92Si 6061/AI203/15p 1 h. recent experiments on notched tensile bars showed that the fracture strain was relatively insensitive to the degree of far field triaxiality. In comparing the data the particles were assumed to be homogeneously distributed. She concluded that this was too small for the 15% of 9 urn diameter particles studied. all of which are likely to influence the fracture toughness. typically '" 50 urn.Mg-Cu matrix composites containing 15 and 20 vol. suggesting that 17 Comparison between theoretical Kth and experimental Kexp fracture toughness values cry.P? Kraffr'P" also proposed that fracture was controlled by failure of ligaments ahead of the crack tip and suggested that ligament failure occurred at the instability strain observed in a smooth bar tensile test. Manoharan and Lewandowski r''' obtained reasonable agreement with this model for underaged AI-Zn.

intermetallic particles. T6 at R= -1 25 Fatigue crack growth rate for 6061. "Davidson 139 found that for a wide range of different aluminium composites. .137 Fatigue Many of the potential applications for composites require a resistance to cyclic loading. reflecting variations in processing and material quality. However. AK the stress intensity range. and several fatigue studies in MMCs have been reported . while there was increasing evidence of particle cracking at higher AKs. literature are acknowledged to be invalid according to standard testing practice. the strains in the composite are lower than those in the unreinforced material at the same stress level. the parameters Band 8 were related by the expression In B = -16'1- 2·28 . and does exhibit a linear stage II regime obeying the Paris law da/dN = BAKs .--. This higher threshold is attributed to crack closure effects. i. and Band 8 are constants.143 Fatigue crack propagation is generally characterised in terms of fracture mechanics. However. You and Allison 144 found that in 2124/SiC/20p. and is investigated by crack growth experiments. with the behaviour depending on particle size and the stress intensity range. Crack growth experiments on composites show the typical sigmoidal International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol.e. whereas the high cycle performance should be improved because of the higher modulus. 138-141. and an example of this is shown in Fig.-----. and since AKth is higher and K1C lower than for unreinforced alloys.N curve for extruded unreinforced 6061. Figure 24 shows the 8.143 . 39 No. The improvement observed in constant stress amplitude tests reflects the fact that with the higher Young's modulus of the composite. Crack initiation has been associated with defects in the composite.T6 and 6061/AI203/15p. particle-matrix decohesion was prevalent at near threshold. It has been suggested that fatigue cracks initiate late in the life of composites. Various aspects of fracture toughness testing of particle metal matrix composites have been recently considered by Roebuck and Lord. Residual stresses and inhomogeneity of particle distribution often result in excessive curvature in the initial fatigue crack which invalidates the test. .142 have shown that the improvement in fatigue life evident in stress life data is eliminated when compared on a strain life basis. Under constant strain amplitude conditions the MMC is inferior in the low cycle regime where plastic strains dominate. these expectations are generally fulfilled.g. MN m-3/2 TO FAILURE S-N curve for 6061. Kmax approaches the fracture toughness K1C' The data generally shows that the threshold stress intensity range is higher in MMCs than in unreinforced material. (29) This relationship was developed for R = 0'1.18 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 280-r---=-----------------. . . 1O-4. again for 6061/AI203/15p.T6 and T6 at R=-1 6061/AI203/15p. 10-8 ~ 120- I i I 103 1b4 105 CYCLES 24 I I 107 1~6 1O-9-t-----r---. in 7XXX/SiC/20p the situation was found to be more complex. and molten metal processed composites.l'" Since the crack growth rate plot is bounded by AKth and Kmax = K1C. (28) where da/dN is the crack growth rate. The curve is bounded at the low crack growth end by the threshold stress intensity range for initiating growth (AKth) and at the high growth rate end by the stress intensity for unstable crack growth.1 shaped curve of crack growth rate against stress intensity range exhibited by unreinforced alloys. which included mechanically alloyed. T6. and compares with In B = -0. . . Intuitively. the stress intensity range for fatigue crack growth in composites will be smaller than for unreinforced alloys.T6 and 6061/Al2 03/ 15p. .0·3758 obtained for unreinforced Al alloys.--~"T""""""T"-_. .-r--r-.T6 ~ 6061~T6 10-5 Q) u ~ . 220- (j) (j) ~ 10-6 ~ 200- EU t(j) ~ ~ X « :J 180- - ~ 10-7 160- 0% A~03 . Refs. . . . and in the high cycle regime the composite is little different to unreinforced material. and large reinforcement particle or particle clusters._J 3 5 10 20 STRESS INTENSITY RANGE (~K). .l''" Since the correlation between Band 8 is very sensitive to R ratio in .---. e. one would expect the low cycle fatigue behaviour of MMCs to be somewhat worse than unreinforced alloys because of the lower ductility in composites. ASTM E399 and BS 5447. 25.see for example. several studies141. . powder metallurgy.-r-----------------~ 260- (\J IE o Z 240- D 6061/15A1203.----. the fatigue crack growth rate curve for composites has the same general shape as for unreinforced alloys. While there is considerable scatter in the published data. Constant stress amplitude tests involve both fatigue crack initiation and crack propagation.T6 at R = -1. ro "0 (/~~/ 140- 15% AIz0. This study also found that the fatigue crack growth rate was relatively insensitive to aging._____. Other than this.

several recent creep studies have been reported. and with two particle sizes. 1·7 urn reinforcing particles. Most of the studies indicate that the fatigue performance can be comparable with or better than the unreinforced matrix. They found Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 19 that the creep rate decreased with increasing volume fraction of reinforcement. There are insufficient data to assess the influence of particle size. / "This equation describes the creep of metals with a constant substructure deforming by lattice diffusion controlled creep. At low stress and strain rates. raising questions regarding the validity of some of the data. and apparent activation energies of 500-540 kJ mol-l (Ref. particle MMCs are now at the commercial production stage.0"0) showed no improvement over unreinforced alloys. . The steady state creep rate can be expressed as 8 = AO"" exp(-Q/RT) . However. This suggests that the creep rate is not controlled by oxide dispersoids.. by (0" . etc. 150). R the gas constant. These values compare with n = 5 and Q = 142 kJ mol-l for the self-diffusion of aluminium. ). From the creep experiments to date it would appear that a high volume fraction of fine particle reinforcement can provide significant improvement in creep resistance up to about 350°C. 9. and about an order of magnitude improvement in creep rate over unreinforced alloys. For composites with fine.2 is equal to that for the finer reinforcement.2 into the creep equation gives a value for n of 5. n is high and increases with decreasing stress. To explain this behaviour it is usual to introduce the concept of a threshold stress. shape. (0" . Park et al. 0"0' and replace the creep stress. At higher temperatures the reinforcing particles are unlikely to exercise much constraint on the plasticity. DL the lattice diffusivity. consistent with unreinforced alloys. extruded wrought product Extrusion billet cost Material Sawing Extrusion cost Extrusion speed Die cost Die wear Recoveries Cutting Machining Bending and forming Welding Surface finishing . 145-149). and only a relatively small increase in the flow stress. To overcome this difficulty Pandey et al. primarily on powder processed composites. . Their measurements extended over seven orders of magnitude of strain rate and exhibited two regimes of behaviour. Q the activation energy. . but with fine oxide particles incorporated into the composite during powder processing. equation (29) is also likely to vary with R. while the threshold of 15·8 MN m . they found good agreement with this equation.. for coarse reinforcement. and the creep behaviour will approach that of the matrix. and 30p in compression. n the stress exponent. They suggest that the subgrain size is controlled by the average spacing between reinforcing particles. . 390-400 kJ mol-l (Refs.Lloyd aluminium alloys. (30) where 8 is the creep rate. and also stabilised by the reinforcing phase. tested at 350°C. 14·5 and 45·9 urn. Considering that MMCs contain hard ceramic Table 5 Finished component cost factors for an . Commercial aspects As noted in the introduction. The results to date show that the fatigue performance of the composite is different to that of the unreinforced matrix. A recent study of ODS Al and AI-Mg alloys showed values of n = 15-25.153 s 3 = A'DL A b 5 (0" .2. .0"0) in equation (30). 1·7 and 14·5 urn.151 used this approach in analysing the creep in shear of 6061/SiC/30p. except at high stress or strain amplitudes where the reduced ductility of the composite influences the behaviour.the subgrain size. and E the Young's modulus. for many high temperature applications the creep properties of the material are important and . and a whole range of factors have to be addressed to produce a cost competitive component. but whether the fatigue behaviour is improved or not depends on the mode of testing. the creep rate in terms of the effective stress. and fatigue crack growth models are not sufficiently well developed to make any predictions. However. A high stress exponent is reminiscent of oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloys.0"0)8 E (31) where A' is a constant. Substituting the threshold stress of 8·1 MN m . Applying this equation to the tensile creep of composites gives high n-values. b the Burgers vector. 0" the creep stress. . However. Table 5 lists the factors involved in determining the finished component costs. such an approach may prove useful in estimating fatigue performance. and the threshold stress also increased with volume fraction. Park et ale suggested that the threshold stress was due to dislocation interaction. 0".1 .anodising Transportation Recycling International or painting Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. and T the absolute temperature. Creep In previous sections it was pointed out that particle reinforcement provides an increase in the elastic modulus at elevated temperatures.5. . A a constant. there is presently no satisfactory explanation for the value of the threshold stress observed. from 14·5 MN m-2 for 10% (1'7 urn) to 32·8 MN m-2 for 300~. 20p. and high activation energies.5-20. At high stresses and strain rates n tends towards a constant value of 7·4. 39 No.152 have tested AI/SiC/lOp. indicative of a threshold stress of 8·1 MN m . not with the SiC reinforcing interaction. They analysed their results in terms of the structure invariant model proposed by Sherby et al. This behaviour can be explained if it is assumed that the interparticle spacing in the case of the coarser reinforcement is too large to influence the substructure. One problem with these tensile creep studies is that the extent of steady state creep is quite limited.

but the uniformity of the reinforcement distribution will also be important. It should be appreciated however.J « 2 ffi <D ~~ 25...----------------------.•. reaming.1 . size. and 85-90% of the Al can be recovered.. Many of the early composite extrusions used lubricated conical dies to facilitate extrusion._... 39 No._T'""'T""T'" .-~. SiC particles can be removed from the melt. By far. and volume fraction of reinforcement will affect machine ability. and scrap sorting is very important...P" Most applications require some degree of machining.. ""T"""r'T_r_T""'~ 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 o 26 VOLUME FRACTION. which means that abrasive wear of the tooling is the main issue.. such as sawing. This means that MMCs should be machined at higher feed rates and depth of cut than traditionally used with unreinforced Al alloys.. therefore.. Addition of SiC particles to aluminium alloys can reduce the coefficient of thermal expansion of the alloys. Extensive sawing and machining studies have been carried out. Directly casting to final shape. but a degree of final machining is necessary ° International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol... provided it is of high quality.. This is particularly important for aluminium matrix composites.. i. though speeds are lower and extrusion pressures higher. see for example. PCD tooling is not yet available for taps or very small diameter drills and reamers. appropriate extrusion die material is still an area requiring development... will be easier to machine than a matrix reinforced with Al2 3.e.•. Figure 26 . A matrix with a soft reinforcement. but this is not commercially viable except for very simple. • AI/SiC 20 I. that in some applications Jor composite the physical properties are of paramount importance.156. Many factors. Large clusters of ceramic particles will act as large inclusions with regard to tool damage.•. separate the composite into its two constituents parts. 2.LW W o u 01+-r-...•. while conventional and coated carbide tooling last only a few minutes. milling.. The reclamation route is an alternative approach which is also available to composites which can be remelted. High speed steel tools are dulled in seconds.. Composites initially produced by the molten metal route lend themselves to recycling by remelting. Fortunately.. and tapping. To date. and other near net shape processing reduces some of these production difficulties. have already been considered in the original processing.. while still maintaining a thermal conductivity equivalent to the matrix alloy. such as sawing.__r_r_1""""T""T'""T""T""T'" .•. and viable commercial practices established. no information has been reported on recycling powder metallurgy material. Increasing this by a factor of 4 for the composite not only increases the removal rate. The hardness of the tooling is an important factor in controlling tool life... Some general comments This review has primarily been concerned with the factors influencing the microstructural-mechanical properties relationship of composites.. symmetrical shapes.. Increasing the reinforcement particle size and volume fraction will increase the abrasiveness of the composite. have high wear resistance and limited ductility. The composition of the MMC. but also increases tool life by a factor of 3. To minimise abrasive wear the area and contact time between the tool and the workpiece should be kept as low as possible during the machining operation.157Excessive die wear can be minimised by using high wear resistant inserts. The shape of the reinforcement may influence the ease with which the ceramic particles are sheared.20 Lloyd Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites particles. Ref. such as reactivity between the particle and the molten metal.. a key cost parameter in all processing routes will be the ability to recycle the scrap and/or the final component when its useful life is over. Unfortunately. There are two strategies which can be used to handle scrap MMCs: 1.. drilling... but there is no information available on this.. and presumably other composite producers will develop similar technologies. Reclamation: reclaim the individual components of the composite. 15 OZ I-Q Z(j) ~zlO ~~ I... affect the machining of MMCs. Using combined argon and salt fluxing... Both strategies have to be cost effective and environmentally safe. The ceramic particles present in composites have hardnesses approaching that of the machine tool material. Fluxing and degassing technologies have been developed by Duralcan.LX I. but guidelines are being developed which will enable MMCs to be commercially machined. melt cleanness and degassing are more difficult problems when dealing with scrap. such as graphite.• """T""'T""'1"""T"""T""". 155. shape. 0/0 Variation of coefficient of thermal expansion with volume fraction of SiC in variety of AI alloy matrices in the majority of components. the most cost effective tooling is polycrystalline diamond (PCD). even the most straightforward operation.. face milling of unreinforced Al is typically carried out at a feed rate of around 0·013 ern per tooth. because the whole Al business philosophy is based on an ability to recycle.. However. As an example.L X. so carbide tools must be used for these operations. However..._r_T"""T__r_r_. but it will presumably involve melting. particularly for complex shapes. can require modification of the conventional equipment. Recycle: for reuse as composite. also increases tool life. Low cutting speeds. in terms of type. since most of the issues involved. In addition. the matrix alloy and the ceramic particles. which minimise the temperature rise during machining. the conventional direct extrusion process with unlubricated shear faced dies is feasible with appropriate die design and extrusion practice...

Polym. SYMES: in Proc. 14. F. Sci. and break rotors. PA. and other engineering applications are also well advanced. Since many ceramic particles. Inst. Metal Powder Industries Federation. BADIA and P.Lloyd shows the influence of SiC on the coefficient of thermal expansion of a variety of Al alloys. 17. Even in the case of insulating reinforcing particles. A. and J. TIEN. SiC. MIURA. 20. NEUMANN. KELLY. D. and meeting specifications with' high yields and at acceptable cost. PATTON: J. e. ROHATGI: in 'Interfaces in metal-matrix composites'.Z. E. K. 117-137.. now become the key factors in successful exploitation. J. and P. 402-406. 451-465. (ed. Detroit. K. OH: in 'Interfaces in metal-matrix composites'. 61-91. Jr et al. R. A. KAI. there are many situations where the wear resistance is much higher in the composite than in the unreinforced alloy. J. (ed. 1986. Technol. Warrendale. and N. 3. grateful to Alcan International Ltd for permission to publish. 20. 415-423. c. and S. 983-993. Warrendale. 1980. 1989. 323-334. ASM International. ROHATGI: J. 671-685. AFS. (ed. K. Metall. J. DEONATH and P. 1984. 41-44.ICCM-V'. B.u. Acknowledgments The author is.. bushings. KRISHNAN and P. S. the composite microstructure is different to that of the matrix as a result of the processing. 187-206. G. 1983. SURAPPA and P. OKURA: Composites. OR. 1981. G. 1985.. C. and w. A. Warrendale. While wear resistance is a systems property rather than a materials property. 1988. 1985. the properties will inevitably be inferior to those obtainable with continuous reinforcement. and w. Metals Park. The Metallurgical Society of AIME. FUNATANI. Conf. NAIR. corrosion does not appear to be a major concern provided the appropriate matrix is chosen. W. Fishman). LAGACE. V. 39 No. PA. 1983. 100. or be limited to niche markets. 2777-2784. KELLY: Compos. Depending on the initial fabrication route. 1985. HARRIGAN. Sci. 4. K. J. MOORE. P. SURAPPA. and the next 5 years or so will demonstrate whether particle MMCs will become a general use engineering material. C... Techno!. J. M. S. 359-376. Technol. Warrendale. D. PA. 1989. K. LLOYD and B. 10. A. 15. E.-Y. For those alloy-environment combinations where pitting and intergranular corrosion are a consideration. 263-269. Fishman). Mater. References 1. 1969. 22. CHAMBERLAIN: in 'Cast reinforced metal composites'.. 275-290. M. K. major applications in the automobile industry. K. K. and to his colleagues at the Alcan Research Centres in Kingston. 9. C. Fishman and A. (ed. Rev. and R. McLEOD: in 'Controlled interphases in composite materials . T. a wide range of particle MMCs are now available in semicommercial and full commercial quantities.. 5. Dhingra and S. H. J. M. and a suitable microstructure developed. A. 185-202. 15. A. 16. H. may be the appropriate means of use. A. BANERJI. and no doubt it will depend critically on the matrix-reinforcement combination and the particular environment. Sci. P. 1972. a somewhat inferior performance in the composite is expected. International Materials Reviews 1994 Vol. Low coefficient of thermal expansion and high thermal conductivity is an attractive combination for applications requiring dimensional stability. and these are most likely to be in the transportation industry. MIYAKE: SAE Technical Paper 830252. K. Das et al. P. Warrendale. The Metallurgical Society of AIME. ROEBUCK and A. (ed. Sci. 18. and generating a surface composite layer by spray deposition. W. T. ADAMS and R. ROHATGI: Metall.g. RUSSELL. Princeton. 19. D. which can provide a broad range of mechanical and physical properties. and small quantities of MMCs have been used in space and aircraft. W. Some commercial application has occurred in the sporting and bicycle industry. ROHATGI: Met. Trans. BATES: Int. and P. 197-201. YANG. A.171-199. such as Al2 3. There is very little published work on the corrosion behaviour of composite. DONOMOTO. Lee et a!. A. 2. GILMAN: in 'Light-weight alloys for aerospace applications'. (ed. C. The Metallurgical Society of AIME. Banbury. K. PA. and w. so they provide a compromise combination of properties between unreinforced and continuous fibre reinforced composite. J. K. NJ. 273-283. J. is a conductor and changes in corrosion behaviour need to be assessed. reaction products. DINWOODIE. PA. G. K. 1987. S.). M. CORNIE. C. LEWANDOWSKI. 1986. coarse intermetallics. J. HUNT. CHOU.. 76. van OSS. However. M. 1988. and Arvida. C. 21. Dhingra and S. R. The Metallurgical Society of AIME. 23. J. J. Reproducibility of properties in ° Particle reinforced AI and Mg matrix composites 21 commercial component runs. LEWIS: in 'Rapidly solidified crystalline alloys'. M. For commercial success large tonnage applications need to be developed. there is almost an unlimited range of matrices. Met. American Powder Metallurgy Institute.ICCM-III'. A. Jr: Scr. ROHATGI: J. (ed.). K. Mater. Warrendale. 1985. 6. B. H. K. C. 5th Int. 1277-1281. Vol. In summary. With this compromise comes the ability to use conventional fabrication methods and lower cost. P. J. London. LIU. The Metallurgical Society of AIME. ROHATGI: Trans. 157-183. they would not be expected to affect corrosion behaviour directly. Dhingra). are now in the late stages of development. (ed. such as brake rotors and drive shafts. Elsevier Applied Science. E. and A. 1990. 8. on 'Composite materials . Kumar et a!. In some cases this property is only required at the surface. cylinder liners. and the reduction is close to rule of mixture behaviour. 14B. 12. A.23. However. MI. The technologies are now available which should be able to meet these requirements. 13. LANGMAN. 11. finer grain size.). PELTIER. ZEDALIS. and this can modify the corrosion response. K. Harrigan. particles. or some other route. S. and loadings available. 227-230. PA. 1988. iSS This makes MMCs attractive for bearings. M. and at Duralcan USA. Ishida). it may be more difficult to prevent recrystallisation in those alloy matrices where an unrecrystallised microstructure is required for maximum stress corrosion resistance. for their contributions to the ideas and information in this article. no increase in susceptibility to stress corrosion is expected in recrystallised microstructures. 11.). Met. STACEY: Mater. In many applications the corrosion behaviour of the composite is important. LLOYD. W. 251. FORNO: in 'Modern developments in powder metallurgy'. M. however. 16. are insulators. 1973. 7. Jr: in 'Processing and properties for powder metallurgy composites'..1 . With the tendency for grain refinement in MMCs. In the studies conducted to date. However. San Diego and Dubuc plants. SZEKELY: Kolloid-Z. s. and 1985. N. 16. which is the role they have played to date. E. 30.. 4. W. 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