Metal Matrix Composites


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METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES IN AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS A novel near net shape low cost sinter forging approach to processing particle reinforced metal matrix composites for high performance applications produced strong fatigue resistant connecting rods Nikilesh Chawla Arizona State University Tempe Arizona H igh strength to weight ratios enhanced mechanical and thermal properties and tailorability make metal matrix composites MMCs very attractive for automotive applications Particle reinforced MMCs such as SiC particles in an aluminum alloy matrix are particularly attractive because of their lower cost relative isotropy and ease of fabrication relative to their continuous fiber reinforced counterparts An important application for Al SiCp composites is in the connecting rod which requires high fatigue resistance at temperatures as high as 150 C 300 F A lighter connecting rod would provide a 12 to 20 reduction in secondary shaking force a 0 5 to 1 improvement in fuel economy with lightweight piston and pin a 15 to 20 increase in peak RPM lower bearing width package improvement and better bearing and crankshaft durability This article describes the sinter forging process for producing particle reinforced aluminum composites for automotive applications It includes results of microstructural characterization and mechanical properties of the composites Sinter forging At Arizona State University we have examined the microstructure and properties of a particle reinforced composite fabricated by a low cost novel sinter forging technique In this process the powder mixture of SiC and Al is cold compacted sintered and forged to nearly full density Its main advantage is that sinter forging produces a nearnet shape component and machining operations and material waste are minimized The mechanical behavior and microstructure of the composite were characterized and compared to materials of similar composition Member of ASM International ADVANCED MATERIALS PROCESSES JULY 2006 processed

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