Analyses of deformation and ductility in metal-ceramic composites
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Whisker and particle-reinforced metal-matrix composites represent a broad class of advanced structural materials that often possess excellent specific strength and stiffness values. The primary disadvantage of many of these materials is that they exhibit low ductility and poor fracture toughness. In order to improve these macroscopic characteristics, it is essential to develop an understanding of the dominant failure mechanisms on the local or micro-level, which include; ductile failure in the matrix by the nucleation, growth and coalescence of cavities, brittle fracture of the reinforcing particles and decohesion of the particle-matrix interface. In this paper, recent studies of the first two of these failure mechanisms in discontinuously reinforced metal-matrix composites are reviewed.