Hot isostatic pressing of metal reinforced metal matrix composites

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Metal reinforced Metal Matrix Composites (MMMCs) made by combining an aluminium alloy matrix with stainless steel reinforcing wires are potentially cheaper and tougher than continuous fibre ceramic reinforced Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs). Although they do not give as great enhancements in stiffness and strength, worthwhile gains are achieved. Such MMMCs can be produced by Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIPping), which reduces interfacial reactions in comparison with liquid metal routes. Here, stainless steel (316L) and commercial purity aluminium wires were used to make bundles which were inserted into mild steel cans for HIPping at 525 °C/120 min/100 MPa. Some stainless steel wires were pre-coated with A17Si, to examine the effect of coatings on mechanical properties. Specimens were evaluated in terms of their tensile and fatigue properties. During HIPping, cans collapsed anisotropically to give different cross-section shapes, and for larger diameter cans, there was also some longitudinal twisting. Wires tended to be better aligned after HIPping in the smaller diameter cans, which produced material having higher modulus and UTS. Higher volume fractions of reinforcement tend to give better fatigue properties. Composites with coated stainless steel wires gave higher composite elongation to failure than uncoated wires. Both uncoated and coated wires failed by fatigue during fatigue testing of the composite. This contrasts with ceramic reinforced MMCs where the fibres fracture at weak points and then pull out of the matrix.

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