Influence of microstructure on the strength of Nicalon-reinforced aluminium metal-matrix composites
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The microstructure and mechanical properties of two aluminium-based composites reinforced with Nicalon fibre are investigated. During composite processing, aluminium carbide forms at the interface as a result of a reaction between aluminium and free carbon in the fibre. Magnesium, when present in the aluminium matrix, diffuses into the outer (~ 200 nm) layer of the fibre where it reacts with the silicon oxycarbide constituent to form magnesium-containing oxide and also to free carbon for the production of more interfacial aluminium carbide. These chemical reactions affect to differing degrees the strength of a fibre, as measured after extraction from the two composites, and influence the respective fibre/matrix interfacial friction stress and composite strength. A simple rule-of-mixtures approach based upon the measured strength of extracted fibres gave some agreement with longitudinal properties of the composite, but treatment of the fibres as bundles, using a Weibull probability distribution of properties, provided more accurate predictions.
KeywordsAluminium Matrix Measured Strength Free Carbon Friction Stress Interfacial Friction
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