High-Performance Metal/Carbide Composites with Far-From-Equilibrium Compositions and Controlled Microstructures
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The prospect of extending existing metal-ceramic composites to those with the compositions that are far from thermodynamic equilibrium is examined. A current and pressure-assisted, rapid infiltration is proposed to fabricate composites, consisting of reactive metallic and ceramic phases with controlled microstructure and tunable properties. An aluminum (Al) alloy/Ti2AlC composite is selected as an example of the far-from-equilibrium systems to fabricate, because Ti2AlC exists only in a narrow region of the Ti-Al-C phase diagram and readily reacts with Al. This kind of reactive systems challenges conventional methods for successfully processing corresponding metal-ceramic composites. Al alloy/Ti2AlC composites with controlled microstructures, various volume ratios of constituents (40/60 and 27/73) and metallic phase sizes (42-83 μm, 77-276 μm, and 167-545 μm), are obtained using the Ti2AlC foams with different pore structures as preforms for molten metal (Al alloy) infiltration. The resulting composites are lightweight and display exceptional mechanical properties at both ambient and elevated temperatures. These structures achieve a compressive strength that is 10 times higher than the yield strength of the corresponding peak-aged Al alloy at ambient temperature and 14 times higher at 400 °C. Possible strengthening mechanisms are described, and further strategies for improving properties of those composites are proposed.
author list (cited authors)
Hu, L., O’Neil, M., Erturun, V., Benitez, R., Proust, G., Karaman, I., & Radovic, M.